India and Sri Lanka have agreed to jointly build in two stages a 135-megawatt solar power plant in the island nation’s eastern port district of Trincomalee to promote renewable energy.
Sri Lankan Cabinet has given approval for the project as the country aims to generate 70 per cent of its electricity requirement by 2030 from renewable energy sources. “The National Thermal Power Corporation of India and the Ceylon Electricity Board have entered into an agreement to jointly implement a solar power project in two stages,” said a note from the Cabinet meeting held this week.
“As the first stage of this project, it is expected to implement a solar power project of 50 megawatts with a total estimated investment of USD 42.5 million and to construct a 220 kilowatts transmission line with 40-km length from Sampoor to Kappalthure spending USD 23.6 million, it said. It is expected to complete this stage in two years from 2024 to 2025,” it said.
A solar power generation plant with an additional 85 megawatts is expected to be constructed under a total investment of USD 72 million at the second stage of this project, the note said. The Indian government has expressed willingness to promote and strengthen cooperation in the renewable energy sector by operating and facilitating power generation projects utilising solar and wind power, including coastal wind and biomass, it said.
India will also provide continuous transmission of infrastructure in places where agreed mutually in Sri Lanka including the northern and eastern provinces in cooperation with private and state entrepreneurs in India and Sri Lanka, the note said.
A 2013 agreement with NTPC to build a thermal power plant in Sampur was later abandoned over objections to the environmental hazards of using coal for power generation.