A Five Year National Plan on Power and Energy Development has been implemented to provide quality service at cheaper rates to people under the direction of Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne, a Ministry official said.
`Under the plan the construction of the first ever Natural gas fired Power plant of 300 MW will begin at Kerawalapitiya in September, in addition to the construction of the 300 MW diesel-powered power plant,` he said. Both plants will be completed by 2008.
According to him the plan would look into the possibilities of developing all possible alternative sources of electricity such as coal fired power, wind, biogas, solar and mini hydro power to shift the heavy dependency of diesel powered electricity accountable for 60 per cent of total generation. The heavy dependency on petroleum had triggered concern over a possible power crisis due to the ever increasing crude oil prices in the world market.
`The Ministry had already taken steps to add another 3,000 MW to the National grid using the coal power in the next six years. Three new coal-fired power plants would be constructed in Trincomalee, Hambantota and Mawella apart from Norochcholai.`
`The mooted Trincomalee plant will add 1,000 MW to the National Grid while Hambantota and Mawella will supply another 1,200 MW.
The Ministry is expected to sell a unit as low as Rs. 5 once these are completed against the current unit of price of Rs.7.40,` he said.
The Ministry will invest Rs. three billion to develop mini hydropower projects to enhance the current generation capacity from 80 MW to 400 MW under the plan. Private sector participation would also be encouraged.
The current wind power generators at Puttalam would be upgraded to produce 80 MW. The Ministry also plans to buy electricity generated using biogas in order to solve the garbage problem in Colombo and suburbs, he said.
`The Ministry has also planned to provide electricity to at least five percent of the extremely difficult areas using solar power.` The Minister had reiterated his commitment to provide a better service without any restriction at economically viable rates by 2010, the official added.