Diesel electricity generation increases 700%


Use of the imported and pollutive coal for electricity generation fell by 45.94 per cent (5.66 gigaWatthours (gWh) to 6.66 gWh, Monday (15) over Sunday (14) due to the breakdown of the Norochcholai Coal Fired Power Plant, Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB’s) yesterday’s (16) data showed.

 To meet this mismatch, electricity generated by burning the imported and pollutive diesel oil increased by 700 per cent (8.47 gWh) to 9.68 gWh, Monday over Sunday, CEB statistics further showed.

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 per one kiloWatthour (kWh) of electricity followed by Coal  at Rs 10.87 a unit.

Meanwhile,  diesel was the most expensive last year (2021), costing CEB to buy private sector (PS) generated  ‘electricity diesel’ at Rs 30.35 a unit, while the next highest was ‘CEB Diesel’ at Rs 29.01 a unit. 

Monday’s diesel electricity breakdown was PS, 5.75 gWh or 5.75 million kWh and CEB, 3.93 gWh or 3.93 million kWh, respectively. On the previous day Sunday, this breakdown was PS Diesel 0.92 gWh or 0.92 million kWh, while the ‘electricity diesel’ volume from CEB’s own diesel generation was 0.31 gWh (0.31 million kWh), respectively.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s sole coal electricity generator, the 900 mW Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, is generally, only partially operative 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.

BY Paneetha Ameresekere