The Sri Lankan Government is giving high priority to developing its remaining hydro-power resources in the island to reduce dependence on costly fuel imports as well as for their potential to earn carbon credits in the initiative to reduce the effects of global warming. Private sector developers are to be encouraged to launch mini hydro power projects under an ambitious plan of the Ceylon Electricity Board, (CEB), a senior CEB official said.
Around 600 small scale hydro power projects have been identified which are capable of adding around 500 MW of power to the national grid, he said. Of this total, both CEB and private sector developers have developed 148 MW and provisional approvals to develop the remaining capacity had been already issued. Potential hydro power sites have capacities ranging from a few hundred kW to 40 MW, he said.
The Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka granted investment approval for two mini hydro ventures to commence operations soon, Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General told the Business Times. Nilwala Vidulibala Company signed the agreement for a venture to establish a mini hydro plant at Morawaka. The venture is an investment of over US $ 3.28 million, he added. Bogo Power another private company will set up a 4,000 kw mini hydro power plant at Kirkoswald Estate, Norwood with an investment of over US $ 5.5. million with BOI approval.
"Such electricity generation will help to save fuel used for power generation substantially," Mr Perera said.
Mini-hydro projects sell power at much lower prices than thermal fuel. Most of the power from mini-hydro firms is also generated during the wet season, when the utility is least dependent on thermal power, he added.