World’s largest offshore wind farm pioneer wants Lanka to follow suit


By Ravi Ladduwahetty

A visionary who created England’s and the world’s largest 10,000 Megawatt offshore wind farm, wants Sri Lanka to follow suit by establishing the first off shore wind farm not only the in this country but for the South East Asian region in its entirety.

Our business is the development of large scale off shoe wind farms and we desire to impart the technology for Sri Lanka to follow suit which will enable the island nation to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, Director of UK’s Zero Carbon Marine Ltd Peter Crone told The Island soon following a news conference and a presentation on prospects here

Crone, who developed the world’s largest off shore wind farm off the estuary of the River Thames and named London Array, spanning over 10 years from 2002, said that his team believed that Sri Lanka was the best location in the region to do business and added that they were very comfortable in doing so.

Responding to a question as to why the special affinity for Sri Lanka, he said that the team visited other countries in the region which were not so attractive.

Asked which geographical expanse he deems ideal for such a venture, Crone said that for such a large scale project of this nature, he said that it would be ideally between Hambantota and Puttalam. We need to plug in the project where the people were and a project of this nature would want a large geographical expanse, he said.

ZCM Director Michael Huntingford told The Island that the project would require a shallow sea bed which will be only around a depth of around 40 metres which will be the ideal depth for Sri Lanka.

Asked what the ideal capital cost would be around US$ 4.2 million per megawatt hour and a 300 megawatt project which would be the ideal for Sri Lanka would take around US $ 1.4 billion. It would take between 40 and 60 wind turbines for a mega project such as this, he said.

Asked what he would advocate for Sri Lanka for this gargantuan project whether it was a 100% investment or whether it was Public/Private Sector partnership, he said that in liberalized energy markets , it would be a total private sector investment which will fund the equity and who will not be brining in banks for the funding at all. That is the ideal model for a country like Sri Lanka for the private investors to come in, taking the risk where the returns are known.

Crone said that the preliminaries would revolve round determining how much wind is there and added that the team was engaged in a prefeasibility study in collaboration with the Meteorological Department which has stations countrywide which assist with the data." If we did not have a gut feeling that there was good wind power here in Sri Lanka, we would not have been here, Crone said

They also said that they have met Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka and the CEB General Manager and would be meeting more members of the Cabinet including Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa prior to their departure today.

He said that the payback period would be between five and seven years. His ideal model for Sri Lanka would be a Build/ Own and Operate. We will consider any other model that the GOSL would be putting to us. If the GOSL does not like the BOO model, then we will talk and it always depends on what the terms are, he said.

Asked how competitive the pricing would be, he said that it might add 0.5% or 1% to the power costs of Sri Lanka and added whether the people of Sri Lanka would want to have electricity made in Sri Lanka, vis a vis through having energy from imported sources such as coal imported from China, India or Australia

Setting up of the equipment would take around 4-5 years and we are confident that we could have the project going in five years

He was addressing the joint news conference with fellow Zero Carbon Mining Directors Jens Diekman and TAGU Energy Lanka (Pvt) Ltd Director and promoter of the project Nimal De Silva.

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