Indians dragging their feet on proposed joint venture power plant?

By Ifham Nizam

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed second coal-fired power plant in Trincomalee would be further delayed as the joint venture partner the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India was taking more time on the specifications, a top energy official said.

Central Environmental Authority, Chairman Dr. Saranaga Alahapperuma, contacted for comment, told The Island that they had done their part and the delay was with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). 

CEB Chairman, W B Ganegala told The Island that he would shortly speak to the Indian firm on their submissions. 

The CEB would go ahead with the plant with the agreed proposals of both parties, Ganegala said in response to a question whether the plant would be changed from the original of 250MWx2 to 300MWx2.

Some of the senior engineers including some board members are of the view that two 300 MW turbines will be much better than the earlier option.

However, the CEB Chief said if they were to make changes there would be another delay. He said he felt that since those agreements were government to government and they had to stick to their specifications.

Plans are underway to have Indian equipment in contravention of earlier terms and conditions which stipulated international open bidding, according to sources.

However, a senior CEB official said the Indian company would not be able to have its way if the engineers stood firm.

Pointing out that India already had 250MW plants, another engineer said, "They can easily dump two plants from their existing stock."

Trincomalee Power Company Limited is responsible for the implementation and operation of the 250MWx2 coal power plant complex at Sampur, Trincomalee. The total estimated cost of the project is USD 512 mn.

It will comprise two 250 MW generators whose power will be transmitted to the national grid through high voltage transmission lines from Sampur through Habarana to the Veyangoda Grid Substations.

Power Purchase Agreement, Implementation Agreement, BOI Agreement, Land Lease Agreement and Coal Supply Agreement were signed on Oct. 7, 2013 by relevant parties including the government of Sri Lanka, the CEB and the Joint Venture Company.

The project is expected to be commissioned before end of 2017.

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