The Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant (LCPP) in Puttalam will resume power generation tomorrow after completion of the repairs in the wake of the January 18 breakdown, a senior Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) official said yesterday.
However, he said he could not give an assurance of uninterrupted power generation as the Chinese machinery was not up to international standard.
CEB Deputy General Manager Saliya Panditharatne, who is in charge of the LCPP, said the boilers were likely to be fired today.
“I am confident we will be in a position to generate the full capacity of 300 MWs by Thursday and add it to the national grid,” Mr. Panditharatne said.
Commenting on the allegations made by a section of CEB engineers, Mr. Panditahratne said it was because of the generous gesture to Sri Lanka by the Chinese government that the LCPP became a reality.
“During the power crisis in 2006 there was no one to help Sri Lanka until the Chinese offered to help us and by building this coal power plant. We must not forget that the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) which contracted to build the LCPP, is a private commercial entity and it is natural to expect a return from any project they undertake. It is true that the machinery is of Chinese make,” Mr. Panditaratne said.
He said the January 18 breakdown was due to equipment failure and the CMEC had conducted the repairs, but breakdowns in future could not be ruled out.
The first phase of the Chinese EXIM bank-funded project was constructed at a cost of Rs.56.1 billion with Sri Lanka’s commitment being Rs.5.3 billion. It was commissioned on March 22, 2011 but a fire which broke out on October 24, 2010 caused extensive damage to the plant and delayed the formal commissioning of the power plant.
Another fire in August last year was followed by a major fire on January 18 this year compelling the closure of the power plant.
The coal power plant is expected to generate 900MWs by 2014 when the second and third phases are completed. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)