After 224 Days: Hydropower Provides Over 50% of Electricity

By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 11 2020

By Paneetha Ameresekere

Cheap and clean hydroelectricity, uplifted by the monsoons, provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs sourced from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) for the first time after 224 days on Sunday (10 August), CEB data on its website showed yesterday (Monday, 10 August).

Prior to Sunday, the last time hydroelectricity provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs were 224 days ago on 29 December, CEB records on the public domain also showed. 

This has to be looked at in the context that the average costs to the CEB in relation to hydro and the dirty and more expensive imported coal and fuel oil power generation were a low Rs 2.49 for hydro, and a higher Rs 10.48 and Rs 31.93 per Kilo Watt per hour (KW/h) for coal and fuel power oil, respectively, last year (2019), Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL’s) 2019 Annual report said.

‘The average cost of electricity purchases by the CEB from independent power producers (IPPs) amounted to Rs 26.47 per KW/h in 2019 as against Rs 24.47 per KW/h recorded in the previous year,’ it added.

Consequently at end 2019, CEB accounted for 55.7 per cent (Rs 85.95B) of outstanding total trade receivables of Rs 154.3 Billion of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), CBSL further said.

‘Petroleum sales to the power generation sector grew notably due to higher reliance on fuel based power generation amidst dry weather conditions last year,’ it said.

Latest CBSL data showed that in the first five months of this year, the country’s fuel bill was the single largest import, amounting to 17.12 per cent (US$1,133 million) of the total import bill of $6,619 million in the review period.

Meanwhile, of the total quantity of 32.30 Giga Watt hours (GWh) of electricity generated and/or bought from IPPs by the CEB on Sunday (9 August), hydro’s contribution was 18.04 GWh (56.25 per cent), wind, another source of clean and cheap electricity, 0.86 GWh (2.68 per cent) and coal and oil at 13.17 GWh    (41.07 per cent) and zero, respectively, CEB records showed.

Further, cheap, and clean electricity powered by hydro electricity and followed by wind, also provided over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs for the second consecutive day to Sunday, CEB data on the public domain showed.

The last time cheap and clean electricity provided by hydro and/or together with wind, for consecutive days  hit over 50 per cent was 226 days ago, covering  three consecutive days to 27 December, CEB’s records on the public domain showed. 

However, at times, there are certain errors in CEB data, because they do not tally, though the difference is negligible and therefore may be ignored. Further, CEB, also at times doesn’t provide statistics on a daily basis.

By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 11 2020

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