Sri Lankan government gets ADB grant for a study to improve the country’s power transmission system
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced that it would provide Sri Lanka with a grant aid to hire two consulting firms to study and improve the soundness of the country’s power transmission system which has suffered blackouts owing to poor reliability.
The ADB has reportedly said that two separate consulting firms will be selected for undertaking a study on power supply reliability and protection development and conducting project preparatory due diligence.
The project that is being funded with a grant of US$1.5 million is to commence in March 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by February 2019.
The ADB will be the executing agency while implementing agencies are the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Lanka Electricity Company (Private) Ltd (LECO).
“While trying to meet increasing demand the sector continues to struggle because of the high cost of electricity emanating from poor generation mix and inadequate level of reliability,” the ADB statement has noted.
“This is partly due to underinvestment in the transmission network, medium voltage network, and protection system resulting from high government debt-to-GDP ratio over the years and the poor financial status of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)— the state-owned public utility whose operations have been constrained by non-implementation of full cost recovery tariff and receivables.”
In 2015–2016, Sri Lanka suffered three country-wide blackouts within the span of seven months.
“All these blackouts were attributed to poor operation of the protection system, lack of operational flexibility and bottlenecks in the transmission system,” the ADB has said.
According to the ADB, the strengthening of the transmission system, improving the 33/11 kilovolt (kV) medium voltage network, and upgrading the protection system are required to ensure reliable operation of the power system.
The ADB funded study on the improvement of the country’s power transmission system would result in the identification of the existing bottlenecks in the system. Hence, the study would result in the recommendation of new projects to be implemented in the country’s power and energy sector. This could result in the opening up of new investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s power and energy sector.
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