The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal to conduct a complete feasibility study to select a suitable location to build the country’s first Pumped Storage Hydropower Plant that has been identified under the Long-Term Power Generation Plan 2018-2037, to avoid power outages during peak demand hours.
Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma on Monday sought the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to conduct a complete feasibility study, with the remaining funds in the Asia Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Green Power Development and Energy Efficiency Improvement Project.
The Government Information Department noted that Ma Oya in Aranayake and Wewathenna in Kandy have been identified as suitable locations for the construction of this project, as per a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation
The JICA, in 2015, warned that Sri Lanka would run into trouble with regards to stable power supply during peak demand time and would face high cost of operation of gas turbine and diesel generation using oil for peak power demand.
Therefore, it recommended the government to conduct a feasibility on setting up a Pumped Storage Hydropower Plant after identifying it as the best viable solution for the looming issues in the country’s power sector.
“In case the electric power development, mainly of coal thermal power plants, which have no advantage in load following capability, would be executed in accordance with the LTGEP 2013-2032, the following troubles might occur in the Sri Lankan power supply system: trouble in stable power supply such as power outage during peak demand time and high cost operation of gas turbine and diesel generation using oil for peak power demand. In order to avoid the troubles, it is necessary to line up a dedicated power source at a fair rate for peak demand and the pumped storage power plant is selected as the optimal power generation for peak power demand in this report,” it elaborated.
The JICA study found that Maha 3 site to be the most promising candidate site among the 10 candidate sites, which are located in the Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Ratnapura and Kegalle districts.
Further, it suggested 600 MW capacity to be considered for the proposed plant based on the future increment of power demand. The JICA estimated the total cost of the proposed plant in the range of US $ 677-US $ 700 million.
Meanwhile, the Government Information Department noted that the operation of the proposed hydropower plant would commence in three phases in 2025.