From left: Gamesa Lanka CFO Rajaratnam Venkatesh, Gamesa Lanka Chairman/Managing Director Ramesh Kymal and Gamesa Lanka Operations Head Sampath Kariyawasam Pic by Waruna Wanniarachchi
By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Global wind turbine solutions leader, Spain’s Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica will be facilitating the Sri Lankan government’s goal to depend on 100 percent renewable energy by 2020 and took the first step yesterday by establishing the Gamesa Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd office in Katunayake.
“The minister has said that the country will be utilizing 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. I think it’s a great plan. Wind conditions in Sri Lanka are much better than other countries,” Gamesa Lanka and India Chairman/Managing Director Ramesh Kymal said.
Kymal said that Sri Lanka, which currently consumes around 3,000 megawatts of electricity, has a potential of generating 20,000 megawatts just through land-based wind projects.
Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka had said that a major revamp of the grid would be required before connecting renewable energy.
“The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is afraid it’s not possible to integrate to the grid but it’s technologically possible and we have done it before,” Kymal said.
According to him, each two megawatt plant, which has a plant load factor between 45-50 percent, could power around 5,000 Sri Lankan homes which use 200 units a month and the machines are operational over 97 percent of the time.
He said that Sri Lanka could even look towards exporting the extra energy to India.
“India is hungry for energy. We already have similar arrangements with Bhutan and Nepal,” he noted.
He further added that Gamesa Lanka, which is a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Gamesa India, would also be forwarding tenders for the 175 megawatt and 125 megawatt power plants in the second and third phases of the Mannar Wind Farm, respectively, through local partners.
Gamesa is in the business of constructing, installing, operating and maintaining various models of wind turbines and through its factories in India is building turbines that are especially suited to the climatic conditions of South Asia.
Last year, it installed plants with a total capacity of 700 megawatts in India and plans to install plants with over 1,000 megawatts in capacity this year.
It is currently the market leader in Sri Lanka with over a 40 percent share, having installed wind turbines with a total capacity of 45.3 megawatts. Its clientele include Akbar Brothers, LTL Holdings and the Senok group since 2010.
Gamesa Lanka Operations Head Sampath Kariyawasam said that installing a one megawatt wind plant would cost around Rs.250-300 million, following which the CEB buys the electricity at Rs.19 per unit.
“The return on investment is about six to eight years. The cost of wind is more competitive than thermal,” Kymal added.
He said Gamesa is the market leader due to its great service, monitoring all aspects of its plants in real-time to anticipate breakdowns.
Kymal was also involved in establishing the prototype wind turbine in Hambantota between 1996 and 1998 and holds Sri Lanka of particularly great value. He said that Gamesa would be entering the solar power market in Sri Lanka as well.
Last year, Gamesa’s worldwide operations accrued a turnover of 2.85 billion euros.