The Ministry of Power and Energy confirmed that the power requirement for the proposed electrification of the railways system was a maximum of 60 megawatts (MW).
The initial phase of introducing the electric train service will be from Veyangoda to Panadura and would require 20 MW. The second phase which concerns the Kelani Valley railway line is to be from Awissawella to Colombo while the third phase, yet unconfirmed but discussed in the steering committee appointed to look into the matter, is proposed to be from Pugoda to Kosgama.
The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation informed that the Asian Development Bank was presently conducting a feasibility study into the proposed electrification of the railways. The feasibility is to be finished by May next year.
Subsequent to this, the next phase would be where projects are prioritized and detailed designs are done, a process which would take a year’s time, Secretary – Ministry of Transport, Nihal Somaweera added. Then contractors for implementation would be looked at and by mid 2018 the project could be commenced, he said.
While the project is to tentatively be completed by 2020, depending on the momentum of implementation it could shift to 2021 or 2022.
The power requirement for the project has been notified by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation to the Ministry of Power and Energy and the Ceylon Electricity Board, representatives of which are in a steering committee appointed to look into this matter which has to be worked out with consultants.
Director (Development) of the Ministry of Power and Energy and Media Spokesman of the Ministry, Sulakshana Jayawardena said that the requirements of the national grid have all been accounted including the demands made by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development for their developments, and those of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation and other industries.
Our forecasts account for a demand growth of 5% to 6% based on which we implement the long -term power generation plan, he added.
“Although there are a few coal power plants in the long-term power generation plan, we plan to move towards renewable energy sources. The first liquefied natural gas power plant will be in 2019, proposals for which have already been sought from developers and contractors. All sources of power generation including even hydro have environmental impacts, which are however comparatively less than coal,” he explained.
A separate division would be established within the Department of Railways with regard to the electric railway system.
“This is not a new project. The electrification is an attempt to modernize the existing railways system. Other feasibilities too are being done,” Somaweera explained.
It has been reported elsewhere that the estimated project cost is USD/$ 625 million and also that the second phase involved Ragama-Negombo while the third involved Maradana-Homagama.