Colombo, Jan 19 (newsin.asia) – Farmers in the draught-prone Moneragala district in South Sri Lanka will soon be joining a US$ 24 million Sino-Sri Lankan Joint Venture to generate 10 mw of green power every day to add 70,000 mwh of renewable energy to the Sri Lankan national grid.
Jinawara Dharmawadana, Chairman IMS Holdings Pvt.Ltd., a partner in the Joint Venture told newspersons here on Thursday that farmers in the Kalawaaragama area will grow the Gliricidia Sepium tree, the wood f which will be bought by the Joint Venture “Green Watts” to be used as fuel for power generation.
Dharmawardana claimed that the farmers supplying Gliricidia Sepium wood will be making LKR 500 million (US$ 3.2 million) per year as a result of the power plant.
The joint venture is between private sector Sri Lankan and Chinese companies. They are: the Beijing Full Dimension Power Ttech Company (which is highly experienced in producing power from biomass); the Nanjing Turbine and Electric Machinery Group Co (which is one of the largest steam turbine manufacturers in China) and the Green Watts Pvt.Ltd. of Sri Lanka.
The Joint Venture agreement was signed here on Thursday in the presence of all the stakeholders and the media.
Explaining the reasons for choosing to opt for Gliricidia Sepium wood as the fuel rather than solar power to run the turbines in the power plant, Dharmawardana said that the primary mission of the company is to put money into the pockets of poor farmers in a backward, draught prone area of the island like Monaragala.
“Drawing energy from the sun may be cost effective, but solar power generation would not put money into the poor farmer’s pocket. Buying Gliricidia wood from him would would,” Dhamawadana said.
Furthermore, the scheme will encourage the planting of Gliricidia; promote sustainable agriculture; encourage livestock development; and increase green cover in dry south Sri Lanka.
Fortunately, Gliricidia sepium grows and flourishes in drought prone areas like Monaragala. Large scale cultivation of Gliricidia would also be possible given the fact that it is the fourth recognized plantation crop in Sri Lanka, Dharmawardana said.
Dr.Hu said that the project is of “great significance” not only to the two partners but the two countries as well. Further the project, which is a venture involving the private sectors of China and India, will pave the way many more such private sector collaborative ventures, he added.
Dr.Hu described the project not just as a power generation project but as a “community development project”. He appreciated the dedication of the local Sri Lankan partners who have an abiding relationship with the rural community in this area.
The power plant will consist of six biomass boilers, and three steam steam turbine generators as the core of the power generation system. The cooling system uses ground water supplemented by large scale rain water collection.
All stack emissions will be cleared by state of the electro-static precipitators to meet the current emission standards of the Central Environment Authority. There are no liquid waste generated and the boiler blow down water and sewerage will be treated before discharging.
The ash generated, being a source of fertility, will be collected and offered to the suppliers of fuel wood to enrich the soil in their farms.
The plant is expected to be in operation by the end of September this year.
The plant will help fulfill Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s pledge to build dendro (biomass) power stations throughout the country so that electricity consumers’ money which hitherto filled the coal and oil mafia will flow into the pockets of the rural peasantry.
“ I will gradually remove all subsidies now given for fossil fuel and hand them over to obtain renewable energy technology. In this way electricity will be supplied at low cost. We will obtain long term concessionary loans that are already instituted in the world,” the President said.
(The featured image at top is that of the tree Gliricidia Sepium which can flourish even in drought affected areas)