India offers solar plant in Trincomalee

October 20, 2016 12:01 am | Updated December 02, 2016 10:18 am IST - COLOMBO:

Solar thrust: Sri Lanka aims to add 220 MW of solar power to its energy grid by 2020. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Solar thrust: Sri Lanka aims to add 220 MW of solar power to its energy grid by 2020. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

A month after Sri Lanka decided to scrap a coal power project involving the NTPC, in Trincomalee, India has offered to build a solar power plant in the port town.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up the matter in his recent meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena in Goa, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, highly-placed Indian government sources said.

In September, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy told the country’s Supreme Court that it had decided to drop the plan to build a coal power plant in Sampur, Trincomalee, due to “serious environmental concerns”.

The Sri Lankan government said it was instead considering options such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), solar and wind power.

Last month, President Sirisena unveiled Soorya Bala Sangramaya (Battle for Solar Energy), an initiative aimed at adding 220 MW of solar power to the island’s energy grid by 2020. The President said he hoped that the project would add 1,000 MW by 2025.

Renewables shift

Following Sri Lanka’s shift towards renewable sources, India has offered to build a solar power plant in Trincomalee.

The 900 MW, Chinese-built power plant in Norocholai, 140 km north of Colombo, helps the island meet its power demands. Following a recent breakdown in the facility, the government had imposed island-wide power cuts for a few days.

The island has a total installed power generation capacity of 4,050 MW.

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