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Energy expert advises against country walking into fossil fuel trap

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The unit cost of a regasified liquefied natural gas (R-LNG) power plant will be Rs. 19 at the current exchange rate (Rs. 200 per dollar) and will further increase as the rupee depreciates, energy expert Vidhura Ralapanawe told The Island yesterday.

However, according to the CEB, the average selling price of a unit of electricity is around Rs.16.88.

Ralapanawe said that some experts were arguing for natural gas for electricity generation in Sri Lanka as a ‘low-cost option’. However, it would only be feasible if Sri Lanka printed US dollars, he said.

“I have taken the CEB’s own cost calculation for the 300MW LNG power plant (originally tendered in 2016) and is awaiting the PPA approval. The tender used a fixed exchange rate for 20 years at Rs 150 per USD. No other assumptions of the CEB (including fuel costs) has been changed.

“Revising the rate to 200 (January 2021) gives the RLNG-based power cost to be Rs 19 per unit. Using a 3% YoY depreciation moves exchange rate to Rs 225 in 2024 – the year we are likely to get RLNG (if it comes), and the cost moves to Rs. 21.70. According to the CEB, the average selling price is around Rs. 16.88.”

Ralapanawe said that the price would increase with transmission, distribution and other costs, making the CEB increase electricity tariff by a significant margin

“There is a recommendation by an expert associated with the CEB to increase tariffs by Rs. 2.30 per unit, per year. To meet the losses incurred by the Board.”

Ralapanawe said that the CEB could either increase tariffs to meet the losses or look at cheaper sources of electricity. Renewable energy was tendered in rupee between 9 – 13 Rupees per kWh, he added.

“As a country full of renewables, we should ask why we are purposefully walking into this fossil fuel trap.”

 

 



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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