The Government is embarking on a number of massive electricity projects exceeding an investment of US$ 1,000 million over the next few years to avert any power crisis.
The biggest project is the coal-fired Norochcholai power plant, an investment of US$ 455 million.
`The plant will be fully operational by 2012, adding 900 MW adding to the national grid. The 300 MW first phase will be operational by 2009,` Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said.
`The Ministry had already taken steps to add another 3,000 MW to the national grid using coal power in the next six years. Three new coal-fired power plants are due to be constructed in Trincomalee, Hambantota and Mawella apart form the already commenced construction of the Norochcholai power plant,` Minister Seneviratne said.
The Ministry is also building a US$ 326 million Multi Fuel Combined Cycle Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya as a more short-term solution. The significant feature of the plant is that it can be operated using diesel, furnace oil or even Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
Initially 200 MW of power could be generated by gas turbines by July 2008 and another 100 MW generated by the steam could be added later by July 2009.
The second stage of the Upper Kotmale power project is already under construction. The power station will add 150 MW to the national grid by 2010.
The construction cost of the second phase - the dam, tunnel and the underground power station is estimated to cost Rs.10.7 billion.
According to the Minister, the Government would look into the possibility 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 the 60 per cent of total generation.