The construction of the Sri Lanka`s largest thermal multi-fuel operated combined power plant will begin in the middle of the year in Kerawalapitiya as scheduled. Construction work is expected to be completed in 2008 and the Energy Ministry hopes to commence operations in 2009.
Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne delivering a speech at the agreement signing ceremony pointed out that the Kerawalapitiya power plant had been considered to be very important in view of the current power situation in the country and the plant would be able to solve the existing power crisis. He said that it would generate 300 MW capacity of electricity operated by furnace oil which would have the lowest variable cost of all thermal power plants.
Minister Seneviratne said that Kerawalapitiya power plant would be the least cost power generation plant of the CEB for a long time. He stressed the Power and Energy Ministry had taken action to implement the project considering the urgency of project proposals called by the CEB`s subsidiary, Lakdhanavi Limited, which had a record of implementing power projects in the past economically.
He added that the salient features of the power plant was that the plant would have the option of running on auto-diesel or natural gas without any modification.
Referring to the current power crisis, Minister Seneviratne noted that although the Government had expected a severe power crisis in 2007,the catchment areas had received adequate water so that the signs of the power crisis had disappeared.
The minister further stated that if the country were to face the demands of power for 2008 and 2009,the Kerawalapitiya power plant would be the only solution.
Regarding the construction work of the plant, Seneviratne said that the gas and steam turbines would be supplied by GE Energy of USA, Electrical Equipment and Controls by ADB of Germany and Boiler by NEM of Netherlands.
Local engineers would play a major role for designing of the plant up to finally commissioning and operation and maintenance. West Coast Power (Pvt) Limited would own the power plant and Lakdhanavi Ltd would be the EPC and O/M contractor. he said.
When asked about the CEB`s ownership of the plant,Seneviratne said that the West Coast Power (Pvt) Limited would operate the plant and after 25 years the project would be transferred to CEB free of charge.