Mannar’s wind power potential to be tapped in one go



 


By Ifham Nizam


The Power and Energy Ministry is planning to tap Mannar’s wind potential of 375MW in one go, while making sure the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) gets 100MW out of it.


Power and Energy Secretary Dr. B. M. S. Batagoda told The Island that they would go for competitive bidding.


The project was likely to be delayed and they hoped to make a final decision within the next 14 days, Dr. Batagoda said, noting that they had to come up with a solution to the 132KV line which was not sufficient to carry the additional electricity load.


Private companies are vying with each other to get the lion’s share of the deal of the USD 750 million worth of wind power potential in Mannar.


A senior engineer said that the project should be like the Mahaweli and Laxapana. "Laxapana produces electricity at 25 cents a unit and Mahaweli at Rs. 2.50 a unit. But, when it comes to wind it would cost between Rs. 21.00 and Rs. 22.00 per unit for the first seven years and there would be slight decrease till the 20th year,"


CEB Chairman Anura Wijeypala said that they had already got 100MW and they would go all out to get the balance.


However, the CEB has failed to have a Project Management Unit in place to undertake the Mannar Wind Power Project. The Wind Power Project is headed by a very senior CEB engineer.


The government is also expected to seek a soft loan from the World Bank to the tune of USD 200 mn to set up a 100MW CEB-owned wind power project in Mannar.


The CEB Chief said his institution would be in a position to provide electricity at Rs. 12 per Kwh as opposed to the unit price of more than Rs. 20.00 of a privately owned company.


Wijeyepala said Mannar was better than Kalpitiya when it came to harnessing wind energy. The cost of construction, too, could vary between USD 150 and USD 200 million, he added.


The CEB would allow the private parties to proceed with wind power projects in other parts of the country particularly in the Northern Peninsula, the Chairman said.


However, senior engineers fear that a plan prepared by a former top ministry official with the help of some CEB engineers to proceed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded feasibility study to divide total capacity of 375MW into blocks of 25MW each and sell them to private parties has not been abandoned. "There are foreign as well as local businessmen who have earned colossal sums of money from extremely high prices paid by CEB for electricity generated by wind farms at Puttalam," the CEB Chairman said.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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