More power for China in Norochcholai
China is to play a bigger role in Sri Lanka’s power generation sector by helping to maintain the US$ 1.35 billion Norochcholai coal fired power plant that has been plagued by repeated breakdowns. President Xi Jingping who arrives in Colombo on a two-day visit on September 16 will watch, together with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the signing of first of two Memorandums of Understanding for this purpose. It will be between the Ministry of Power and Energy and China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Power and Energy Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi, who obtained the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has declared that the Chinese role will ensure there will be not be “any future technical failures.”A copy of the MoU, obtained by the Sunday Times, reveals that it will be for three years with provision for extension. Its aim is described as “to provide technical cooperation for stable, efficient functioning of the Norochcholai Coal Power Project.”
Later, the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) will sign a follow-up MoU to give effect to the agreement reached. At present, the Norochcholai or Lakvijaya Power Project is maintained by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). The first MoU paving the way for the state institutions of the two countries to work jointly is for:
n Providing operation and maintenance advisory service for the Project.n Assisting CEB to plan to purchase its spare parts requirements on a long term basis, facilitating CEB to procure genuine spare parts from original manufacturers at competitive prices while guaranteeing cost effectiveness, quality and technical standards to ensure effective operation and maintenance of the Project in a timely manner.
n Providing effective advisory services for annual inspection and overhaul of the project, and the related machinery including advisory services on effective remedial measures to be taken to rectify the shortcomings and lapses, particularly with regard to machinery of the Unit One of the project.
n Providing training to CEB personnel with the intention of improving their technical capabilities and to provide exposure to a different technical culture to such CEB personnel.
A four-member committee is to be established in terms of the MoU to supervise the implementation of the provisions. Its co-chairpersons will be the Power and Energy Ministry Secretary and the Chinese embassy’s Economic and Commercial Counsellor. The other members are: Chief Executive Officer/General Manager of the CEB or the CEB’s Additional General Manager in charge of the subject of Generation and the President or the Deputy President of the Chinese firm CMEC.