The uncertainty over the Sampur thermal power project continues as the NTPC, India’s partner in the coal-fired 500-megawatt (MW) project, is awaiting advice from the Central government on the issue of change of fuel for the proposed plant.
The issue has been raised by Sri Lanka, which apparently now favours liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the fuel.
In February this year, the project received environmental clearance and about a month ago, even a decision was taken by the Trincomalee Power Company Limited (TPCL), a special purpose vehicle floated by the NTPC and the Ceylon Electricity Board, to float bids for the project. U.P. Pani, Director in the NTPC, says the Sri Lankan side has now sought a formal discussion to consider “the possibility of the change of fuel.” It is for the two governments to decide.
On Thursday, addressing a high-profile event here on the India-Sri Lanka relationship, Tilak Siyambalapitiya, a senior energy expert in Sri Lanka, explained why there should not be any further delay in the implementation of the project. Referring to the steep growth in energy sales in Sri Lanka this year, he said the growth rate figure for the period up to May end was 11.7 per cent, which was “very high.”
Besides, no other major power plant was in the pipeline and only by 2020, a LNG terminal could be set up, if the decision to go in for LNG was taken now. (The Hindu)