Electricity generation in Sri Lanka

Electricity generation in Sri Lanka

Electricity generation in Sri Lanka is primarily run by hydro power and thermal heat (which includes energy from biomass, coal, and all other fuel-oil sources), with sources such as photovoltaics and wind power in early stages of deployment. Although potential sites are being identified, other power sources such as geothermal, nuclear, peat, solar thermal and wave power are not used in the power generation process for the national grid.


Hydroelectricity is the oldest and historically the principal source of electricity generation in Sri Lanka, holding a share of 48% of the total available grid capacity in December 2013 and 58% of power generated in 2013.[4] Hydroelectric power generation has been constantly under development since the introduction of the national grid itself, but its market share is declining because suitable new sites are scarce. Currently, ten large hydroelectric power stations are in operation, with the single largest hydroelectric source being the Victoria Dam. Although a large portion of the country's hydroelectric resource are tapped, the government continues to issue small hydrodevelopment permits to the private sector, for projects up to a total installed capacity of 10 MW per project

Thermal power

Thermal power stations in Sri Lanka now roughly match the installed hydroelectric generation capacity, with a share of nearly 49% of the available capacity in December 2013 and 40% of power generated in 2013.[4] Thermal power stations in Sri Lanka runs ondiesel, other fuel oils, naptha or coal.[4] The Norocholai Coal Power Station, the only coal-fired power station in the country, was commissioned in late 2011, adding a further 300 megawatts of electrical capacity to the grid. It is currently planned to add an additional 600 MW of capacity to Norocholai in the next half decade. The second and final coal power station,[6] the Sampur Coal Power Station, is under consideration in Trincomalee and is expected to be in-service by the end of 2017.

Wind power

The use of wind energy was seen in the country even before 500 BC. The ancient Sinhalese used the monsoon winds to power furnaces as early as 300 BC, making Sri Lanka one of the first countries in the world to use wind power. Evidence of this has been found in Anuradhapura and in other cities.The development of modern wind farms has been considered by local and international developers for many years. Such developments were largely hampered due to the many obstacles faced in such developments in economics and infrastructure. The first commercial grid-connected wind farm is the 3 MW Hambantota Wind Farm, northwest ofHambantota.

Solar power

Grid-connected solar power has only recently been introduced. The only operational commercial-scale solar-powered facility is the Buruthakanda Solar Park of 1.2 MW, operated by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA).

Nuclear power

The CEB has included a 600MWe nuclear power plant as an option in its plans for 2031.

Current status

Sri Lanka is looking to increase the installed renewable energy capacity by over four times over the next two decades, as the country's power regulator draws up a new long-term policy.

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