RUN OF THE RIVER HYDROELECTRICITY
Posted on February 23rd, 2022

Sugath Kulatunga

The country is in the midst of a acute power crisis. If we ignore the immediate problem of dearth dollars to buy fuel the present crisis is mainly due to the Yahapalana government not investing in a single new power generation unit. The dollar crisis will exacerbate with oil prices expected to go over 100 dollars a barrel in the coming weeks. Policy makers seem to concentrate on solar power and wind power. Have we exhausted the conventional hydroelectric power? There is more potential in minor hydro schemes, but the environmental constraints limit further expansion in this area.

A few days back I looked at the RUN OF THE RIVER power production and found that it is a much-utilized source of electricity. I wonder why our power gurus have not thought of this source. Before getting at streams and canals why are we not harnessing our rapids. All our major rivers have rapids which may have the potential to be tapped under this technology. In the Mahaweli there are a few rapids close to Kandy. In the Kalani there is Kitulgala and in Kaluganga there is the Naragala rapids. Naragala is in the same latitude as the Labugama reservoir, and it may be possible to tap Kaluganga at this point to augment Labugama water supply.

I found in the Wikipedia the following examples of existing run of the river projects in different parts of the world with over 1500 MW capacity.

·       The following website lists 58 hydroelectric power stations that generate power using the run-of-the-river method. This list includes most power stations that are larger than 100 MW in maximum net capacity, which are currently operational or under construction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_run-of-the-river_hydroelectric_power_stations

 Sugath Kulatunga

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