CEB compels to re-impose 12 hour power cut due to dwindling coal stocks
Ceylon Electricity Board is compelled to re-introduce record nationwide 12-hour daily power cuts as it ran out of coal stocks to run Norochcholai coal power plant on top of a severe shortage of fuel affecting thermal power generation.
The Chairman of Public Utility Commission Janaka Ratnayke said that at present the CEB is generating power by making maximum use of hydro and coal power plants as the country receives high rainfall in catchment areas.
However he added that prompt action taken to place orders for coal shipments as it could only bring down in to the country during the period between October- April
The South Asian nation of 22 million people is in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, because of a severe shortage of foreign currency to pay for imports.
The state electricity monopoly said it was imposing the 10-hour power cut, up from a seven-hour outage since the beginning of the month, because there was no oil to power thermal generators.
More than 40 percent of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated from hydro, and the hydro power plants are running with full capacity as reservoirs were overflowing due to intermittent rains, officials said.
Most electricity production is now from coal and hydro. But Coal stocks are in short supply as the country does not have enough foreign exchange to pay for supplies.
Cheap and clean renewable energy (RE) led by ‘CEB Hydro’ provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity demand for 11 consecutive days to Wednesday (10 August), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) data showed.
The last time this phenomenon took place was 63 days ago, where, for 30 consecutive days to 8 June 2022, over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs were met by RE led by ‘CEB Hydro.’
In the interim 63 days to Wednesday, over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs were met for 32 days, though, not continuously, by the imported and pollutive fossil fuels (FFs) comprising coal and diesel, respectively, 30 days by RE and in the remaining one day, the split was evenly divided (50-50) between FF and RE, respectively.
In the 222 days that have transpired in the year to Wednesday, RE was responsible for providing 50 per cent or over of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs in only 61 (27.48 per cent) days and FFs in the balance 161 (72.52 per cent) days, respectively.
According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s 2021 Annual Report, the cheapest source of electricity generation to the CEB last year was ‘CEB Hydro,’ costing a mere Rs 1.67 a unit or per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity followed by Coal (Rs 10.87), nonconventional RE such as Mini-Hydro, Wind-both CEB and PS, Biomass and Solar (Rs 18.99), ‘CEB Diesel’ (Rs 29.01) and ‘PS Diesel’ (Rs 30.35), respectively.