Sri Lanka has taken a far reaching step towards meeting the ever increasing power demand by initiating the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant in Kerawalapitiya after talking about LNG power for 13 years since 2007.

Minister of power Dullas Alahapperuma revealed that two more LNG power plants will be set up in the country by the year 2023.

The Ministry of Power through the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will call for tenders for the construction of a 300 MW liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant in Kerawalapitiya soon, he disclosed.

"As a solution to the power crisis that may arise in the country in the future, it is appropriate to construct a 300 MW Liquefied Natural Gas Power Plant in Kerawalapitya," the state information office said.

Accordingly, it had been identified that it was appropriate to build and operate such power plants using build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) business model as an independent energy project through private investment.

Hence, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Power to select an investor following the international competitive bidding process to complete the project within a period of three years.

Tenders will be called  for the construction of a third liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant in Kerawalapitiya after finalising the awarding of the most controversial tender to construct the second plant to Lakdhanavi Ltd.

CEB Chairman Eng. Vijitha Herath said the construction of the second 300 MW LNG power plant will begin next month.

The Cabinet recently awarded the construction contract to Lakdhanavi, the lowest bidder, overturning a Cabinet decision of the previous government made just over a year ago, following the withdrawal of a petition filed by Lakdhanavi at the Supreme Court against the original awarding of the contract to Chinese consortium GCL China Windforce and RenewGen. Lakdhanavi filed a petition at the Supreme Court soon after the decision was reached in February last year, as it was the lowest bidder, while GCL was the second lowest.

In addition, the CEB is also expediting the construction of another coal power plant at Norochcholai as an extension to the already existing power plant, Eng. Herath said. According to him, once the construction of the new coal power plant is completed, the country will be able to save Rs. 80 million per year.

“The unit cost of the coal power plant would be around Rs. 8.50 while the unit cost of a diesel power plant is Rs. 15.27. A 300 MW coal power plant usually generates 1.8 billion units,” he explained.