Fossil fuels lead Monday’s electricity supply

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Electricity generated by the imported and pollutive fossil fuels (FFs)  took the lead over the cheap and non-pollutive renewable energy (RE) to be Sri Lanka’s lead electricity provider on Monday (18), Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB’s) yesterday’s (19) data showed.

Of the total electricity supplied by the CEB to consumers in Sri Lanka on Monday which was 39.75 giga Watt hours (gWh), FFs share was 21.27 gWh (53.51 per cent)  and RE’s share was 18.48 gWh (46.49 per cent) respectively.

In the 199 days that have transpired in the year up to  Monday, RE was responsible for providing 50 per cent or over of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs in only 47 (23.62 per cent) days and FFs in the balance 151 (76.38 per cent)  days.

Monday’s FFs breakdown comprised CEB Coal (12.98 gWh), CEB Diesel (4.11 gWh) and private sector (PS) Diesel (4.18 gWh) respectively. Meanwhile, the 900 mW Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, built during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era sans tender call and incurring US$ 1.35 billion of taxpayers’ money to build it, is however, generally, only partially operable for several days, forcing the Government of Sri Lanka/CEB to be over reliant on the expensive diesel to meet a large size of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs on most days. In related developments, Monday’s  RE breakdown comprised CEB Hydro 16.08 gWh, equivalent to 87.01 per cent of total RE generated on that day, followed by PS Mini-Hydro (1.11 gWh),   CEB Wind (0.59 gWh), PS Wind (0.34 gWh),  PS Solar (0.23 gWh) and  PS Biomass (0.13 gWh) respectively

According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s 2021 Annual Report, the cheapest source of electricity generation to the CEB last year was “CEB Hydro,” costing a mere Rs 1.67 a unit or one kilo Watt hour (kWh) of electricity followed by Coal (Rs 10.87); non conventional RE such as Mini-Hydro, Wind-both CEB and PS, Biomass and Solar (Rs 18.99), “CEB diesel” (Rs 29.01) and “PS Diesel” (Rs 30.35), respectively.

CEB’s hydro breakdown of Monday comprised Mahaweli (7.40 gWh), Laxapana (7.0 gWh) and Samanalawewa (ie both Samanalawewa and Kukule Ganga hydroelectric power project (HEPP) together): 1.69 gWh respectively.

Mahaweli comprises Victoria, Randenigala, Rantanbe, Kotmale and Upper Kotmale HEEP projects,

BY Paneetha Ameresekere