100 Megawatt wind farm project stuck in the Cabinet
Posted on September 9th, 2018

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

How  Sri Lankan Industry can benefit

By Sandun Jayawardena

A Danish wind turbine manufacturer has won a tender to build the 100 MegaWatt wind farm in Mannar but the project is held up by delays at Cabinet level.
The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has now urged Cabinet to speed up approval of the US$ 140 million (Rs 22,68 billion) project which Vestas Asia Pacific A/S, Denmark, secured, following evaluation of international competitive bids. The venture is expected to be completed by May 2020.Approval of the Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) and the Asian Development Bank, which is providing funds under a concessionary loan, has already been approved, but Cabinet approval is still pending. Electricity from this project can be generated at less than US 5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). This is just below Rs 8 per kWh at prevailing exchange rates, CEBEU Committee Member Athula Wanniarachchi said.

Construction of Wind Farm would be greatly influenced by climate conditions in Mannar, Mr Wanniarachchi warned. Therefore, timely awarding of the contract is crucial, to complete the project by the May 2020 deadline, as wind turbines need to be hoisted prior to the onset of the South-West monsoon. If there is a considerable delay in commencing project activities, they may end up having to hoist up the turbines during strong monsoonal winds, which may not be feasible,” he observed.In such a scenario, the CEB estimates that, completion of the project may have to be pushed back to the first quarter of 2021. This would mean the plant would lose out on generating 280 million kWh of electricity, from a South-West monsoonal season. The CEBEU has urged the Cabinet to approve the project, so that, the contract can be awarded by next month.

UK government moots infrastructure projects are mooted not because state has an overflowing coffers but to generate employment, jobs for Consultants, and project manager’s .Such mega projects creates indirect income to the local population and small time entrepreneurs to start businesses in project areas.

Project like Cross Rail construction is carried out by many UK companies with assistance from other foreign companies.

Construction of the Elizabeth line is now in its final stages. Testing of new trains and infrastructure is underway and continues alongside the remaining fit-out of the station



The Crossrail project is delivering new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.

Each of the ten new stations will have its own, distinct character, conceived by different architects, which reflect the environment and heritage of the local area. However, at platform level, common design components such as seating, signage and full-height platform screen doors will create a consistent and familiar feel to the rest of the TfL network.

In Sri Lanka most of the mega projects are taken by either Korean or Chinese Companies or in the case of Wind Farm Project, Danish Company may fabricate the units and install themselves without even requesting local companies to quote.

When I was in Project Management Team of construction of 125000 Barrel second space of Reliance Petroleum project ,Indian owners have insisted that most of the equipment should be purchased in India and construction contracts should be given to local companies .Large Korean Companies got involved only when such expertise is not available in the country .

In Sri Lanka certain mega projects like ,Arruwakkaru Garbage  Project,Colombo Storm Water Tunnel Project ,Mono Rail project are given to Chinese and Korean Companies where contribution by local companies are min minimum ,

State agencies who prepare tender documents include such clauses so that local companies cannot be qualified .Argument put forward by the Consultants is that under ADB or World Bank funding they cannot change tender conditions !

Even upcoming small and medium time contractors are disqualified in taking part due to stringent requirement that they should have CIDA (ICTAD) higher level registration

It is high time that Government imposes conditions to all state agencies that certain percentage of the mega contracts should be given to Local Contractors or Consortiums.

In the case of Wind Farm Project, Steel or Concrete columns can be build be Local companies, Local Consultants should be integrated into the project management Team.

CEB Engineering Union dominated by only electrical engineers do not give and chance to Mechanical Engineers in the organization. Various failures and defects of Norrochcholai Power Plant have been surfaced because CEB did not get services of Mechanical Engineers and Marine Engineers.

CEB permitted Chinese to supply two 5000 ton Dump Barges with Two independent tugs to transport coal powder from large bulk carrier to shore .These units were used few time as CEB found that they cannot be used due to difficulty in Manoeuvring .If Marine Engineers were consulted, the location of the unloading pier would have been built in Deeper part of the sea with a break water, and barges could have been self-propelled.

Promotions in CEB for mechanical engineers is held up because CEB Electrical Engineers Mafia blocks them.

Minister in charge of Power being a highly educated person should ensure that CEB deploys local consultants and companies to provide technical advice or execute part of the Wind Farm Project to benefit Sri Lankan Economy




2 Responses to “100 Megawatt wind farm project stuck in the Cabinet”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Fools sitting in the Cabinet will pass anything destructive to Mother Lanka then and there because the PM proposes it with a big pay back from LieTTE Die-ass-pora.

    It looks like this one is a genuine one done by professionals. That is the reason for not approving.

    Same thing happened to Meethotamulla affair. What politicians see is how much they are getting as their share rather than how much this is benefitting the country.

    These scum bugs are in all the parties.

  2. Nimal Says:

    Yes as indicated by this article the CEB Electrical Engineering mafia had stopped me suppling the grid from my heavily invested solar panels. These guys have the worst electrical national supply in the world where they switched off their power about 10 times in 15 days of my stay in SL. In UK our power was switched of only twice in the last 40 years.
    My late father and my eldest brother who were chief engineers in the DGEU(now CEB) must be turning in their graves.
    Perhaps the delays must be due to everyone from top to bottom not being paid their commissions. It is known that one has to pay commissions to get approvals, so sad for the country. I am glad that I am back in London after spending 15 miserable days, where I fell ill with air pollution.Miracale of Asia for rouges.

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