Sri Lanka could reduce power cuts after repairing coal plant

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is seeking to reduce power cuts from the current three hours after a coal-fired power plant was repaired and reconnected to the national grid, the regulator has said.

Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL), Janaka Ratnayake, said a letter had been sent to the Ceylon Electricity Board to “give people the benefit of Unit 1 being added to the grid”.

A 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the 900-megawatt Norochcholai complex suffered a sudden outage after its boiler’s high-pressure pipes were damaged.

Although the plant has been repaired, CEB officials say the impact on the duration of the power cuts cannot yet be determined, as it will depend on the availability of water in the reservoirs, the availability of diesel , naphtha and the state of Sri Lanka’s other energy sources. .

Power cuts in Sri Lanka, which were previously reduced to one hour, have again been increased to three hours due to the outage.

When asked why the plant seemed to be prone to such frequent outages, the manager told EconomyNext that the current pace of operations was steady given the circumstances.

“Norochcholai has a plant factor (measurement of uptime and energy) of 85%. It is very good. The current rate of only about 2 outages per year is very good,” the official said.

Coal-fired power plants are generally expected to have a plant factor of around 80%.

Although regular scheduled maintenance is necessary to keep a plant healthy, the official said this was not possible for reasons such as difficulties in importing spare parts.

“If you don’t maintain your car regularly, it will break down more often. A power station is exactly like that,” the official said.


Sri Lanka’s coal-fired power plants at risk of failure without spare parts

CEB engineers had previously warned that coal-fired power stations could fail due to delayed maintenance and lack of spare parts.

Unit 2 of the plant is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.

Sri Lanka’s power plants have operated for long periods and have experienced maintenance delays partly due to foreign exchange shortages. (Colombo/August 28, 2022)