Coal power: CEB has not factored in human, environment costs – Expert


 By Rathindra Kuruwita

Indirect costs of coal power plants far outweighed the profit made by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Dr. Trishan Perera of the Centre for Sustainability, Sri Jayewardenepura University told The Island, yesterday, highlighting the adverse effects of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant.

 "The CEB claims it is making a significant profit by producing electricity from coal. But it has not factored in the human and environmental costs of coal power."

 During field visits researchers had found that the health of many people had deteriorated due to exposure to emissions from the Norochcholai power plant and farmers said that their crops were being affected by it, Perera said.

 "We must also look at the impact of coal power on tourism. The government has earmarked several nearby areas as potential tourist hotspots and already we have a burgeoning tourism industry around Puttalam. All this will be affected if the impact of the power plant becomes more visible. This, in turn, will affect hotel staff and food suppliers. So the indirect costs of this power plant are significant." 

 Dr. Perera pointed out that solar panel systems had become one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the United States and in the past few years significant advances had been made as regards solar batteries that could store extra solar power for later use.

 "So, if we work on promoting renewable energy we can help more and more people go off grid. That would reduce the need to keep on building power plants."

 President of the CEB Engineers Union, Saumya Kumarawadu said that they were not opposed to renewable energy and that in their generation plan high priority had been given to renewable energy.

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