Coal shortage may cripple Norochcholai

By Ifham Nizam

The country’s first coal fired power plant complex at Norochcholai, which is now generating nearly 600MW of power and also ready to add another 300MW to the national grid after the completion of its third phase might be forced to shut down partially due to a shortage of coal, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) insiders said yesterday.

Sources said the situation had been compounded by rough seas preventing fresh shipments of coal till the southwest monsoon ceases.

The Island learns that the CEB is taking all steps to avoid blackouts by tapping all available resources including other fuel generated plants.

Meanwhile, high level discussions are on with regard to some 17,000 MT of low sulphur oil lying at the Muthurajawela oil refinery. The fuel was dumped due to lacking in specification to run the Kerawalapitiya combined cycle plant.

Plans are underway to use the stock valued at USD 12 million lying for months, especially considering the coal shortage in the country.

Engineers told The Island that though it didn’t meet the parameters for the West coast or the Kerawalapitiya power plant, it would suit Asian Power, certain CEB owned plants and Heladanavi Power plant. However, some engineers were of the view, another test should be carried out prior to being used in power plants.

Engineers also pointed out that even if the oil was used successfully, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) should ask for a better discount as the shipping agency had failed to clear it for months despite complaints.

Meanwhile, discussions are also underway from a ship carrying high sulphur fuel lacking in certain parameters.

When contacted, CEB Additional General Manager, M C Wickremasekera told The Island that they had enough coal.

Despite repeated attempts, CPC Managing Director, Susantha de Silva was not available for comment.


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