90 more solar projects in the offing by CEB


Courtesy: DailyFT – Thursday, 19 October 2017.

  • Tender conditions revised to encourage more bids: Minister
  • TEC Report on proposal for LNG plant in Kerawalapitiya to be handed over on Friday
  • Report by Ministerial Committee on LNG supply terminal proposals to be presented to Cabinet next week


By Chathuri Dissanayake.

The Power and Renewable Energy Ministry is now in the process of floating tenders for 90 projects of 1 MW solar power plants under the second phase of the Suryabala Sangramaya Program. 

Approval was granted by the Government this week to go ahead with the program, where the ministry will call for tenders to purchase power from solar power generators to be connected to 17 grid substations identified by the Ceylon Electricity Board.

The bidding conditions followed in stage one of the Suriyabala Sangramamaya Progam have been revised to ensure more bids are received during the second phase. During the first phase, although 63 bids for 1 MW plants were received, less than 25 qualified for the job.

Unlike the first bid round where only one proposal per bidder was entertained for 60 projects of 1MW each, bidders can tender for any quantity of power up to 90 MW, Power and Renewable Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Daily FT.

Further, the land requirement under the selection criteria has been broadened to give more flexibility to bidders. Stage one of the project required the proposals to provide proof of ownership of a five-acre plot for the generation plant. The new condition has revised the extent to three acres.

Identifying the availability of land and ownership to be a limiting factor from stage 1 of the project, the conditions of ownership have been further relaxed to include leased land, Minister Siyambalapitiya explained.

The 17 substations listed in the second phase are different to the 20 stations listed in stage one, except for a few stations which did not receive bids earlier. Further, unlike the earlier round where only 1 MW was added to one substation, the quantity of power absorbed by the substations in the new list will differ according to capacity, giving the bidders greater flexibility, spokesperson for the Ceylon Electricity Board Sulakshana Jayawardana told Daily FT.

However, the maximum purchase price per unit of power will remain Rs. 18.37.

“We have received bids with prices quoted as low as Rs. 11, so we are confident we will receive very competitive prices this time as well. That is why we have revised the selection criteria as well.

The CEB will call for tenders for the project within the next few weeks, the Minister said, adding that the revisions in tender criteria were now being finalised.

The report of the Technical Evaluation Committee on the bids for tender on the 300 MW Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Kerawalapitiya is expected to be handed over tomorrow for a final decision, the Minister said. A proposal to form a JV between India and Japan to set up a 500 MW LNG plant is seen as the favoured option of the Government, despite receiving a proposal from South Korea for the same project.

However, the Ministry is yet to make a final decision on the proposals for an LNG supply terminal.

“The President has appointed a ministerial committee on the matter and the report will be presented to Cabinet next week,” Siyambalapitiya said, adding that a final decision will be given on the matter following the discussion in Cabinet.

The first report given by the Cabinet Subcommittee appointed to make recommendations on the Government policy on the usage of LNG in electricity generation and the construction of required infrastructure advised the Government to set up a Floating Regasification Storage Unit (FRSU) in order to receive and regasify liquefied natural gas before 2019 to support the move to switch to LNG, which the committee recommended.  It also recommended a floating unit due to the relatively low costs involved in setting it up compared to building a land-based gas receiving terminal and the time consumed.