CEB has renewable energy in long-term planning: OfficialView(s):
The Ceylon Electricity Board’s Long-Term Generation Plan does make room for wind power and other forms of renewable energy, contrary to claims by an officer of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a CEB official said this week.
The Plan has made provision for 925 megawatts of new capacity addition from non-conventional renewable energy power plants between 2020 and 2034, said Bandula Tilakasena, Additional General Manager (Corporate Strategy), in a statement.
The CEB has also proposed 400 megawatts of wind power and 600 megawatts of “pumped storage power plant” to the system during that period.
The Generation Plan was developed to a “least cost principle”, Mr. Tilakasena said. Non-conventional renewable energy was encouraged and initiated through master plans done in the late 1980s and is now a “relatively proven source for energy delivery”, he explained.
The main sources are wind, solar, mini hydro and dendro. The overall renewable energy share will, in future, stand at 35% to 40% of the country’s energy needs between 2015 and 2034.
Referring to a statement attributed to an officer of the PUC that the CEB had used outdated figures and planned only for coal power plants, Mr. Tilakasena said the utility is “bound to take every step to update its databases with latest data and formulate the plan with accurate information”. He also said this had never been raised by the PUC in any of their deliberations.
Meanwhile, the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) claimed, the PUC “since of late is trying hard in the guise of implementing ‘policies’ to force CEB to carry out certain projects which are outside the CEB’s plans”.
The CEBEU asserted that it has, time and again, said the regulator should be headed by “subject experts with credible backgrounds”.
“Present PUC officials should not be mere ‘post boxes; to route CEB proposals originated by those with vested interest, some of them made at set-up ‘public hearings’,” Athula Wanniarachchi, CEBEU President says in a statement.
The CEB, not PUC, fought long and hard to introduce coal power. “We were proved correct as coal plants now can generate a unit at a mere Rs. 5 when the next cheapest thermal plant costs over Rs. 22 a unit,” Mr. Wanniarachchi says.
CEB has ensured that Sri Lanka already generates nearly half of its power from renewable energy. “We are among top fifteen nations in the world that has such a high renewable (including major hydro plants) share in electricity,” Mr. Wanniarachchi observes.
The CEB proposed a novel operating strategy to use wind power by constructing a 100 megawatt wind farm on Mannar island.
“If anyone is genuinely interested in promoting renewables, they must help with the CEB’s 100 megawatt wind plant rather than trying to cancel CEB coal plants, the void of which would not be filled by renewable, as PUC tries, to show but by expensive emergency power plants or diesel or LNG based generation,” Mr. Wanniarachchi asserts.
The CEBEU has accused members of the PUC of having vested interests. “As we have repeatedly stated previously, the power sector is a very lucrative business opportunity for people with vested business interests,” the union states.
“When they cannot make inroads into CEB affairs, they find other avenues to push their motives and PUC appears to be the latest and the easiest of such paths.
PUC since of late is trying hard in the guise of implementing ‘policies’ to force the CEB to carry out certain projects which are outside the CEB’s plans.”