By Rathindra Kuruwita
The Cabinet decision to approve the construction of a coal power plant and two LNG plants ran counter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s promise to meet 80% of Sri Lanka’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2030, Secretary of Solar Industries Association (SIA), Lakmal Fernando told The Island yesterday.
Last week, the Cabinet approved the construction of a 600 megawatt extension of Norochcholai Coal Power complex, an LNG plant with a capacity of 300 Megawatt as a joint venture with Ceylon Electricity Board and India / Japan at Kerawalapitiya and a 300 megawatt LNG plant at Kerawalapitiya to be constructed with funds from the Asian Development Bank.
“If the construction of these power plants goes ahead, 52% our power will come from coal and diesel by 2030. The economy will suffer in such an eventuality,” Fernando said.
Both coal and LNG were imported and the government had to pay for those inputs in dollars. The country would keep on spending hard earned foreign currency by Sri Lankans working in West Asia so that politicians could keep on making money.
“Moreover, the process of constructing large fossil fuel power plants takes a long time, but solar power units could be established fast,” Fernando said.