The first phase of Sri Lanka’s first coal power plant in Norochcholai was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (22). It will add 300 MW to the national grid out of the total 900 MW.
The coal power plant was built using a US $ 450 million loan from China’s EXIM Bank. Most of the construction was carried out by China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation.
Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said that earlier they had planned to commission the first stage of the plant in January, 2012 but with the Government’s accelerated programmes it was decided to complete it this year.
He added that as a country which is concerned about the environment, a special type of coal, with lesser sulphur levels, is being imported from Indonesia.
The second phase is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of USD 891 million and is expected to add 600 MW to the national grid.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the work on the Norochcholai coal power plant in May 2006.
"Our duty and responsibility is to provide the genuine needs of the people. It is for this reason that we decided to expedite the work on this coal powered power plant at Norochcholai", the President stated at the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for the power plant.
Electricity generation in Sri Lanka depends heavily on crude oil. Thus, the power generation cost has increased. In order to overcome this situation, low cost electricity generating facilities, such as coal and hydro electric power plants are being constructed.
The Norochcholai project is expected to make a significant contribution towards meeting the country's electricity needs by 2015. The cost of power generation from coal fired power plants is relatively low compared to oil fired power plants. Thus, this project will result in saving a considerable amount of foreign exchange and reduction in the cost of power generation.
The project is expected to contribute towards the expansion of the industrial sector as well as other development sectors. It will thus contribute to increased employment as well as income generation opportunities. The tariff for electricity can be reduced due to cost effective power generation.