Sri Lanka in talks to push wind projects forward, minister says

Sri Lanka is hopeful of making progress by next month on two delayed wind energy projects to be built by India’s Adani Green Energy Ltd, its energy minister said on Wednesday.

The cash-strapped south Asian island nation, which has suffered from crippling power blackouts and fuel shortages, has been trying to speed green power generation to hedge against surges in imported fuel costs, but the wind projects are still being evaluated because of disputes over pricing and plant efficiency.
“Maybe in the next four weeks, we will see some results on the negotiation process, and there is another negotiation for the transmission lines that is also being evaluated,” Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the India Energy Week event in Goa.

“Both are (happening) simultaneously, so I am hopeful that by March, we will have something,” he said.

Adani, which won approvals to invest $442 million in the wind projects in February 2023, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hydropower, coal-fired plants and oil-based power plants each account for nearly a third of the country’s electricity output. The government has committed to not add any new coal-based capacity and aims to produce 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Neighbouring India recently proposed supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help Sri Lanka produce power at two plants, and Wijesekera said India’s state-run Petronet LNG and plant officials were “working out the mechanics” on shipping LNG.

“It is positively progressing. We should have something maybe in the next three to four weeks,” he said.

In November, Sri Lanka approved a proposal by China’s Sinopec to build a $4.5 billion oil refinery in Hambantota, where China built a port. Wijesekera said the contract has been awarded and the government had made clarifications Sinopec had sought on land clearance, water availability, taxes and concessions.