ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19
Financial Times  

Kerawalapitiya Power Plant - letter

It is two weeks since my response to the letter purporting to be from an engineer representing Lakdhani. My two primary questions to the CEB, Lanka Transformer and Lakdhavani, to: (i) produce the warranties and guarantees by the suppliers of the combined –cycle gas turbine with regard to plant performance and life, if Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) were to be used; and (ii) to provide the names of at least six power plants where HFO have been in use in base-load operations, have gone unanswered. One has to then conclude that there are no warranties by General Electric, the suppliers.

The public is entitled to ask the question, how could any responsible corporation procure a power project that is contracted at a cost $ 290 million (inflated by $ 80 million for unknown reasons compared to that of a competing offer by the Mitsubishi Corporation) without performance and life guarantees? Surely even the most unsophisticated buyer of goods knows the importance of guarantees and warranties.

While my questions are to the CEB and its subsidiaries, and not to a learned doctor, who (last week) attempted to provide a brief for the CEB in the ‘public’ interest, nevertheless, I have to make the following observations to illustrate how half truths, which has been a hallmark of the project, are not in the public interest.

The learned doctor had quoted from a GE website that various types of fuels can be used in combined-cycle gas turbine power plants, including HFO, but failed to mention the many GE technical reports posted in the web and GE’s Gas Turbine Fuel specifications GEI-41047H, that clearly preclude the use of HFO without extensive treatment to remove harmful material that are present in HFO which severely reduce performance and life and that treatment is capital intensive and result in cost of treated HFO reaching that of expensive auto diesel.

Again the doctor refers to the environment impacts of sulfur as the reason for not using HFO. The primary reason the learned doctor should know is that sulfur gives rise to what is referred to as dew point corrosion in the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) that reduce the life of the CCGT to less that an year in base-load operations.

I again ask the CEB and its subsidiaries: Have you obtained guarantees and warranties on the CCGTs using HFO from GE? Will you name at least six CCGT power plants in base-load operations and their locations which use HFO? These are simple questions that will enable the public to decide whether there are reasons for concern.

Daham Wimalasena


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