The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has finally called for tenders to execute the hybrid power projects in three northern islands of Sri Lanka using a grant of US $ 12 million from India, ditching China from the venture completely, Daily Mirror learns.
Sri Lanka, in January 2021, awarded the contract to Chinese firm Sinosar-Etechwin to install a hybrid renewable energy system in Nainativu, Delft or Neduntheevu and Analaitivu off the coast of Jaffna, but scrapped it later after India protested the Chinese involvement. This led to a commercial rift with China. The Chinese embassy also raised concerns with the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government. Then, Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma took the decision to scrap the tender awarded to the Chinese company.
However, India engaged Sri Lanka at the highest level in this regard and offered a grant to implement the project, leaving out China.
Later, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo also tweeted that the suspension of the project was due to a ‘security concern’ from a third party, and has inked a contract with the Maldivian Government to establish solar power plants in 12 islands in the Maldives.
A top CEB official told Daily Mirror that fresh tenders had been called for the execution of the project with India’s grant.
India has already ventured out to invest in Sri Lanka’s energy sector with the aim of interconnection of the two national grids. Adani, a leading Indian company, has secured project approval to start two wind power plants in Mannar and Pooneryn to generate about 350 MW of power. The company is expected to commission the project by 2025.(Kelum Bandara)