Norochcholai Coal Power Plant

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant
Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, formally known as Lakvijaya Power Station (Sinhala: නොරොච්චෝලෙ ගල් අඟුරු බලාගාරය, ලක් විජය බලාගාරය; Tamil: நுரைச்சோலை அனல்மின் நிலையம்), is located in the village of Narakkalli and Penaiyadi near Norochcholai in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka. Commenced in 2007, the plant was constructed in 3 phases and completed by 2014, with a total power generation of 900 MW. It is the country’s largest coal-power-based energy generator to date (Jayaratne et al., 2018). 

Coal-fired power generation
The concept of coal-fired power generation in Sri Lanka was first initiated in the mid-1980s and the first coal-fired power plant of 300 MW was proposed to build in Trincomalee by 1992 (Jayarathna, 2015). However, this project did not succeed due to public protest on the perceived impacts on the environment and the lifestyles of people in the area (Jayarathna, 2015). Thereafter, a site in the south of the country at Mawella was proposed for the plant, but that too was abandoned due to public objections (Jayarathna, 2015).

Selection of Norochcholai
In 1993, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) investigated and selected a site in the Kalpitiya peninsula to build the proposed coal-fired power plant (Jayarathna, 2015). A feasibility study commenced in 1994 and was completed in 1997 giving a proposal to build a plant in Norochcholai (Jayarathna, 2015). The environmental clearance was obtained for the site in 1999 (Jayarathna, 2015). However, this project too delayed for many years due to public protests and political indecision (Jayarathna, 2015).

Construction of the power plant
Finally in 2005, countering all the objections, the government decided to commence the Norochcholai project and construction of the facility began in 2006. It came into the operation in three steps of 300 MW as Phase 1 in the year 2011, Phase II in 2013 and Phase III in 2014 (Jayarathna, 2015; Jayaratne et al., 2018). The entire project was carried out amidst massive objections coming from different environmental and social groups.

The total investment of the Norochcholai project was 1.35 B USD and out of which 450 M USD was received as a soft loan from the Export and Import (EXIM) Bank of China (Jayaratne et al., 2018). The construction work of the project was carried out by the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) of China (Jayaratne et al., 2018).

Since its construction, the power plant failed several times (Jayaratne et al., 2018).

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant
1) Jayarathna, K.H.E.H., 2015. Technical and Economic Impacts of the First Coal-fired Power Station in Sri Lanka. pp.1-3,16-17.
2) Jayaratne, W., Dasanayaka, S.W.S.B. and Mudalige, D., 2018. Critical success factors of international technology transfer: a case of the Norochcholai Coal Power Project in Sri Lanka. pp.59-69.
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This page was last updated on 8 July 2022
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