26 June, 2017

Moving Towards Renewable & Sustainable Energy In Sri Lanka

By Kavindu Ediriweera

Kavindu Ediriweera

During the Presidential election 2015, president Maithripala Sirisena announced his manifesto under the theme of compassionate Maithri governance, a stable country. In the chapter 10 of the aforesaid, he promised to meet the basic energy needs through renewable energy. The manifesto also included among others protecting against rising of imported fuel prices, inclusion of environmental factors in decision making, building biomass power plants and benefiting rural communities. It also mentions removing subsidies for fossil fuel and supporting renewable energy with the President’s policy statements emphasizing the obtaining of long term concessionary loans for clean energy from global funds.

Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy

Until early 90s, Ceylon electricity board depended on Hydropower since it was introduced in 1950s to the country. Until late 2010, hydropower held the majority share on the national power grid. Later on, due to increasing demand and unavailability of economically feasible sites for the development of major hydro sources, respective governments had to shift into a mix electricity generation system such as fossil based alternative as a result.

Electrification growth has changed from 7% that was in early 1976 to an almost 100% electrification rate. Current status of the installed capacity of power in Sri Lanka is 4065MW while having a peak demand of 2483MW. With the changing life patterns of people, it is also notable that at present per capita consumption of electricity has risen from 348kWh (2004) to the existing value 603kWh.

At the end of the year 2016, energy share of the market stands at CEB Coal 36%, CEB Thermal 17%, IPP Thermal (Independent power producers)15% CEB Hydro 24% and other non-conventional renewable energy 8%. According to CEB sources other renewable energy capacity stands at 543.5MW having 209 ongoing projects including among others 178 mini hydro power projects with the capacity of 349.64MW, solar power 41.36MW and wind power 123.85MW.

Change of Plans

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) issued its long-term generation expansion plan 2015-2034 in July 2015. According to which it was expected to increase coal based electricity generation by 5 times to meet the energy requirement of the country causing solid rise of 350% carbon emission which includes increasing particulates by 750% and coal ash 3700tons/day by 2034. Notably, renewable energy cost reduction is not mentioned in this document.

However, this was rejected later introducing CEB short term 2017-2020 plan under the guidance of Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL). It further requested a new plan for 2018-2037 long term generation expansion plan giving priority to government policy framework, least cost principles, demand-side management (DSM), more renewable energy, improve consideration of environmental, health and other externalities and seek wider consultation.

Moving Forward with Increased Renewable Energy Targets

Readiness to integrate variable renewable energy into the national power grid is an upcoming issue that CEB has to face with the increase of RE sources. It is necessary to get new tools to absorb a large share of variable renewable energy to the system.

It is found as a globally confirmed fact that considering the lifespan of a power plant that the leverage cost of fossil fuel and coal is comparatively higher than the leverage cost for renewable energy power plants. Further, there is a reduction in costs that is noted since 2010. Cost of storing renewable energy has been reduced by 70% since 2010, and is expected to reduce by 50% by 2024 compared to the current level.  A  decline in solar electricity prices is noted worldwide as a result of drop in technology cost, low cost financing, favorable solar conditions and competitive procurements.

Currently the revision of National Energy Policies and strategies, which was prepared in 2008, is ongoing parallel to government’s vision for national development, which has set up targets to achieve highest potential of share in renewable energy sector by 2020.

Call for Comments on National Energy Policy  

The Power and Renewable Energy Ministry of Sri Lanka has introduced the draft of the national energy policy for Sri Lanka for public comments. This is introduced as a step towards Sri Lanka’s move to sustainable energy as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under the updated new version of energy policy elements, government has set targets to assure energy security, to provide energy supply at the least economic cost, to provide access to energy services. The Policy also focuses on enhancing self-reliance, conserving energy and improving energy efficiency, enhancing the share of renewable energy, as well as strengthening good governance in the energy sector. The call for comments of the Ministry will remain open for 30 days, and the public has around two more weeks to voice their comments.

 

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  • 3
    0

    Can this author (or any other subject expert) enlighten us as to why major countries like Japan or India are not committing themselves for 100% renewable energy? Is it possible to maintain a stable grid with all 100% coming from variable sources without a certain percentage being maintained by conventional stable 24/7 sources and if so what is that critical percentage?

    Soma

    • 1
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      Why Renewable Cannot be 100%

      Good post Sama. The problems as I see are:

      1) Lobbies. Today the so called experts belong to lobbies and are paid by them and hence cannot be trusted. There are the solar lobbyists, coal lobbyists, LNG or natural gas lobbies. There are even lobbies who are against lobbies.

      That is the non -technical easy part. Now the tough technical part.

      2) Frequency support. When a conventional rotating generator trips (suddenly switches off due to some problem in it) the healthy ones and even the motors in your home like those in your Air Conditioner come to the ‘aid of the party’ by automatically converting the energy stored in their rotating parts to electrical energy. It is a natural process coming without any human intervention, and is called frequency response of the system. The speed of all machines drop and the frequency of the system drops below the standard 50 Hz. The process is like a cyclist pedaling fast and acquiring energy in a downhill slope and using that to go uphill.

      Solar panels are static devices and cannot provide frequency support. Wind generators can, to a certain extent. you have to build systems to artificially give frequency support from solar panels.

      3) Reactive power support: Reactive power is something like a game of tennis between the generators and the consumers. They are bundles of energy being passed between these two. It happens 100 times a second. Again, solar panels cannot provide this while conventional generators can. Wind generators also can, to a certain extent. If you do not supply this in adequate amounts, grid voltage is affected and the system can collapse.

      Contd…

      • 1
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        Edwin Rodrigo Zoophelia

        ” Lobbies. Today the so called experts belong to lobbies and are paid by them and hence cannot be trusted.”

        Is that why Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power station construted at huge costs and Champika Ranawaka as the then minister of Energy couldn’t get it up and running?

        Had he spent more time on the job than behaving as he often does, being a compulsive public racist the country could have solved many problems.

        Who was responsible for the cost of getting the power station up and running after being shut down several times since its commissioning?

        Who did lobby the clan and Champika to build a coal fired power station instead of Solar Energy?

        • 0
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          NV,
          “Who did lobby the clan and Champika to build a coal fired power station instead of Solar Energy? “
          If we built a 900 MW solar power station (there ain’t no such animal anyway), we would be in even worse trouble.Probably we would be in darkness at night. The coal power decision is ok, the problem is either quality is poor or CEB is incapable of running it.
          WE want cheap electricity
          WE want reliable electricity
          BUT we don’t want a power station in the backyard
          Someone else’s backyard is OK
          So, as Edwin Rodrigo proposes, use the Indian backyard.
          Is anybody listening?

    • 1
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      Part 2:

      4) Storage problem: As other posts have pointed out, you need storage to tide over solar and wind non-availability periods. The storage can be batteries, other exotic devices or pumped storages. Pumped storages use their machines to pump water from a low-level reservoir to a reservoir at high level when excess renewable power is available. This water can then be used to turn the machines to produce power as conventional hydro does during times of low renewable power availablity.

      5) Environmental impact: As presented by some lobbies this is not zero for solar panels, wind generators, batteries and pumped storages. They all have a considerable environmental impact, are costly initially and need replacement after 5 to 10 years.

      We hear lobbyists telling us Sweden is going 100% renewable. This is because, Europe forms a huge interconnected grid, which can absorb all of the above. They use many pumped storages available in Norway to store energy. They even laid a new DC undersea cable to connect these pumped storages in Norway to Sweden.

      We can also do it by connecting our small grid to the massive Indian grid. But there is a very strong political lobby against that.

      • 0
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        Thanks so much Edwin. This is one area where I pity the unsuspecting politicians who are being fooled by sycophants like this author who certainly must have the moral obligation to clarify my query which you thankfully did.

        Soma

    • 0
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      Soma your question has been studied and modeled in Ireland Grid by Eleanor Denny. Her Ph.D. thesis can be found here:
      http://erc.ucd.ie/files/theses/Eleanor%20Denny%20-%20A%20Cost-Benefit%20Analysis%20of%20Wind%20Power.pdf

      She came to a conclusion that the dispatchability problems with wind power (and by implication all of the renewable non-dispatchable generating sources) result in an interesting phenomenon. As the percentage of the renewable increases, at some point, a ‘negative’ point start to occur. Things start to slide when there is about 15% renewable on a grid, and by 25-30% the benefits are negative.

      • 0
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        Sorry, Berners Lee, it is not that I try to find holes in every argument, but I want engineers to be precise in their statements and to be sure in their understanding of basic fundamental principles. This is Eleanor’s PhD thesis. But at the start itself she makes a silly mistake that is not worthy of an engineer, by saying that, “The sun radiates 174,423,000,000,000 kilowatts to the Earth per hour (DWEA, 2006)”!

        It is like saying, you know my new car. It runs 400 km per hour in an hour. You get my point? In my example, power is like the speed of a car measured in km per hour and energy is the distance travelled in km within a certain period. Thus speed becomes the rate at which distance is being covered by the car at any given instant.

        Thus in a case where speed is constant, distance covered (km) = speed (km per hour) X time (hours)

        Similarly, in a case where power is constant, energy consumed (or supplied) (in kWh) = power (kW) X time (hours)

        However, in her defense I can say that this is a mistake made by many engineers. They do not understand the difference between energy and power or are careless about it. Power is the rate at which energy is supplied/consumed at any given instant. When you say kWh, the time element is already there. Thus saying kW per month is absolute nonsense.

        I stopped taking the her thesis seriously from then on.

        • 1
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          Edwin Rodrigo@

          this the kind of mistake found in doctoral or master theses are not new to those who have gone through such works.

          Each and every theses even after repeated proof reading by world recognized pioneers in each fields, you can find not just typos but several factual mistakes.
          However,all these depend on the supervisors and their capacities.

          So I will advise you just to focus on the summary of the thesis or anyone.
          I have no idea if you completed any theses within your University education, since if you had, you would not be so picky.

          • 1
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            No I did not write any thesis. The best I could hope for was my BSc. There too, I actually failed 3 times in the final and managed only on the 4th time. That is why Prof Kumar David considers me as a chance entry, a piece of flotsam that floated ashore (E- Fac) just by pure chance.

            I really have no right to question the typos in a PhD thesis.

            • 1
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              I did not mean to put you down Mr Rodrigo. Besides, you seem to have achieved a lot in your life as a BSc (Eng). Be happy !!! I just exposed the realities in terms of the errors in theses and publications. We perfectly know even SCIENCE and NATURE publictions (high impact factor holding) often contain lots of typo errors and even various other deficiencies. So long their substance would not bother the main focus, corresponding reviewers would not disgree with them put to circulation. Bottomline is the message (abstract or summary) being sent to the world by an another commnication (publication). Thanks for your response and good luck.

              • 0
                0

                Thanks and no hard feelings. But it is not a typo. The author makes the same mistake twice in the same para. In my limited experience, I have seen many senior engineers doing the same mistake.

                But as per your suggestion, I will read it through and see.

                Berners Lee, thanks for the reference.

  • 3
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    Ranil Senanayake has been consistently protesting against expanding fossil based power production.

    He is for obtaining electricity from renewable sources like solar. Why not join forces with him?

    • 1
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      Sinhala man,
      It is very easy to be pro-renewable nowadays, like Ranil Senanayake. But his PhD is not in electrical engineering.
      There are huge problems in integrating renewable energy into the grid.
      To put it simply:
      1.What do you do when it rains for days?
      2.What do you do when the wind doesn’t blow?
      In each of the above, the slack has to be taken up by conventional generators (which have to be installed and paid for whether used or not).
      I think energy must be CONSERVED as far as possible. If we stop installing unnecessary air conditioning and excessive daytime lighting, and redesign our buildings to suit the climate, our consumption should come down by half. If the argument is that climate change has made it hotter, consider how the Gulf Arabs lived in their 40 degree temperatures before they became rich! There were entire towns with multi-storied buildings of what we call “mati”.
      I agree with Dr. Ranil on one thing. Ban plastic bottles and bags NOW!
      Make recyclable glass bottles compulsory. Ban plastic lunch sheets. Use banana leaves/newspaper as in the past.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, old codger,

        I think that ALL that you have said is very relevant.

        Yes, I think that we have to move away from the life-styles that we have been encouraged to adopt.

        As you say, the move back to glass from plastics MUST start now.

        All sorts of problems confront renewable energy right now. It is coming in on all sorts of SMALL devices. I wonder if you have seen a small lantern being sold on pavements in the country, everywhere, now for Rs 600/=? It should initially be given a full charge using grid electricity, but thereafter it charges on light energy (from any source). It also has provision for running on three penlight batteries.

        Devices like that should get people thinking on the various possibilities, but beware it is made mostly of plastic, and when discarded it will produce even more pollution. This is the problem with cheap devices which tend to get thrown away.

        As for plastics of all sorts, we have allowed them to become part of our life-styles. In actually eating at home ceramic plates are still used and washed. In all other situations (eating houses, alms-givings etc.) a “lunch sheet” is actually considered necessary, place on top of the ceramic plate.

        Meethotamulla was tragic, but I’m glad that it has got such a lot of publicity, to the point of Ministers postponing overseas trips.

        Creating public awareness has to be the
        first step.

  • 2
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    Peoples’ desire for energy need to be cut down. Otherwise, it won’t be solved.

  • 1
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    OC & Jim
    Together you are dead right on consumption and conservation.

    Kumar David has explained several times here why countries cannot depend on solar and wind for more than a small but significant part of the energy demand. but he backed the fossil fuel projects like the (now dead) Sampur coal power project.

    There are issues with solar and to a less extent wind power. Solar cells consume a lot of energy to manufacture. It was only in the 1990’s that the energy cost broke even with the energy generation during the life of a solar cell. Things are better now, but still much of the energy has to be paid for (as energy) in advance. It is as true of wind power to a less extent.

    The material used will add to waste; and waste disposal is costly with toxic substances involved. Recycling is costly in energy terms.
    There are operational environmental issues especially for large wind farms.

    But humanity will rely more on truly ‘renewable’ systems. Bio-fuels encroach on food and any form of combustion adds to CO2 levels.

    What is needed is intelligent living in well organized societies and consumption based on real need, and perhaps the now despised s********.

    Banning plastic bags worked in Kerala in 2005. the government changed the next year and the garbage problem Kerala became worse than Tamilnadu.

    • 0
      0

      An excellent summary.

      I’m trying to work out what is meant by “the now despised s*****.

      Let’s have more real THINKING on this subject, to start with.

      • 0
        0

        SM
        Thanks. That is undeservedly kind.

        I have written extensively on the subject elsewhere.

        Sadly, I realize that this is not the place for serious comment, let alone discussion, after Day 1 or at best Day 2.
        The fact that you could not decode s******** drives home my point.
        A clue: an egalitarian set up.

        • 0
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          O.C.
          This is a place where it is feared like the plague.
          One does not preach to (a) the converted and (b) the inconvertible.

      • 0
        0

        Sinhala man,
        I suspect you have not twigged S.J’s SOCIALIST political leanings. Even he is rather shy about it!

        • 0
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          old codger

          “I suspect you have not twigged S.J’s SOCIALIST political leanings. Even he is rather shy about it!”

          SJ is basically a naysayers, believes in “end of the world is nigh”, and Siri Mao and SLFP could do no wrong, a self hating Tamil,….

          He is used to blaming the Tamils and TNA/FP if UN reported famine in Africa.

  • 1
    0

    With the current crisis faced with municipal waste,why aren’t we considering solid waste for power generation.

  • 1
    0

    How we do it in the Middle East

    I live in Bahrain and commute daily to Saudi Arabia for work through the Saudi- Bahrain causeway. Many do this, because Bahrain is considered as a free country, with nice people, the Paris of the Middle East. Electricity is subsidized and costs are as given below:

    1) first block 0 to 3000 units – 3 fils per unit ( SLRs 1.20 per unit)
    2) second block 3001 to 5000 units – 9 fils per unit ( SLRs 3.60 per unit)
    3) last block more than 5000 units – 16 fils per unit ( SLRs 6.40 per unit)
    (Exchange rate assumed: 1 Bahrain Dinar = SLRs 400)

    All generation is natural gas based, which they have in abundance, just coming out of the ground. They are taking renewable energy seriously and soon we will have some of it here.

    Bahrain is connected to the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi, Bahrain, UAE. Qatar, Oman) grid. after this interconnection, wide spread power outages have become something of the past. But then we do not have lobbies opposing this interconnection, which was implemented about 10 years back. The last island wide blackout occurred in 2004.

  • 0
    0

    Biomass Power

    During my last vacation in SL, I visited a 4 Mega Watt power plant near Mirigama owned by an Indian Company. The fuel used is entirely ‘Weta Mara’ or Glidiceria. This is bought from villagers in close by areas, providing them with some additional income. The plant does not need any care such as watering, fertilizer etc. It is dried and chipped in to small pieces at the plant and used as the fuel for the boiler to raise steam, which drives a steam turbine. It is considered as a zero emission plant as no extra CO2 is added to the environment as Glidiceria is a plant that absorbs a lot CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • 0
    0

    Enemies of Renewable -1

    Reading the massive amount of daily material on renewable energy that I get over the web, I feel that the worst enemies of renewable energy are the enthusiasts of renewable energy themselves. I have friends who are supposed to be renewable energy experts but all they do is to act as mail boxes, searching the internet for scraps of meat like vultures and then dispersing it around. There is no original thinking. Just sitting at the PC and endlessly surfing the net.

    But the worst enemies are those who promote renewable (mainly PV, because it is easy to do that for PV) just for profit. They will make tall claims such as that there will be no electricity bills. In fact CEB will pay you, they say.

    If anyone approaches you with that, find out how many years it takes to recover your investment. If it is around 4 years it is OK. The calculation depends on which block of units of consumption you are now. Try not to make the consumption zero by going for a large capacity PV. It is not worth. The target should be to avoid the second block only, which is very expensive.

    Expect the output of PV to decline over the years and add this to your calculation. Renewable is good and we all have to shift to it one day. But let us do it intelligently.

    Those who are building new homes should try to incorporate a 12/24 VDC wiring system. The future is in such systems. a whole lot of appliances working on Low volt DC will invade the market soon. Be prepared for it. Why low volt DC? Because these can then be supplied by the 12/24/36 V DC solar panels without using expensive and harmonic producing inverters. Conversion to 230 VDC is a wasteful process.

  • 0
    0

    Enemies of Renewable -2 (CEB)

    Power systems are like living things, which are evolving all the time and unless they adapt to changing circumstances, they are doomed to go extinct. With the advent of Global warming and rapid incursion of renewables, power systems have to adapt fast. Whether an incompetent, corrupt and inefficient organization like CEB can do it is the question, and ‘NO’ is the definite answer.

    Even advanced countries in the world are facing difficulties due to new challenges posed by renewables. Here is an example: Having faced an expensive crisis costing several tens of billions of dollars in 2000/2001, California is bracing for another challenge now, with the rapid deployment of PV systems. As we know, PV cells produce energy during daylight time of 8 AM to 5 PM. The rapid increases and decreases of PV output at the beginning and end of this daylight period is a crucial factor demanding effective flexibility management. These changes have to be taken by the conventional generation from thermal sources. That is where the term ‘Ramping Rate’ comes in.

    By 2020, the required ramping rates are going to be 4000 Megawatts per hour in California. Usually, gas turbines are the best generators to provide this kind of ramping up and down. Unless they have gas turbines the situation will go out of hand. It is good for those who are against conventional generation plant to remember these things.

    CEB has shown that it is eminently incapable of even managing the frequency and the voltage of the system, as it is now. It would be mind boggling to think how things would be if CEB has to manage a system with high penetration of renewables.

    • 0
      0

      Thanks a lot Edwin again. I used to fight with ‘solar salesmen’ wherever I met one. As for this renewable freaks all I have to do in the future is to present them with a copy your comments here.

      What makes me furious is this ‘bio gas’ stuff supposedly coming from fermenting domestic waste. Is it worth commenting?

      Soma

      • 0
        0

        The Google RE<C Initiative

        I have to thank you for asking this very important question. After I answered your question in office, I came home and started re-reading articles on renewable energy in the IEEE journals. IEEE (Instituition of Electrical and Electronic Engineers of USA) is by far the largest professional organization in the world for Electrical Engineers and has a memebership running in to many thousands in 74 countries, and I am a Life Member of the same.

        Let me start with a quotation by Google co-founder, Larry Page, who says “If you choose a harder problem to tackle, you will have less competition”. As we know Google is one of the most innovative companies and it is this kind of philosophy that led to a translation engine that knows 80 languages, self driving cars, wearable computers known as Google glass and many other innovations.

        Google’s boldest energy move was known as RE<C, which aspired to design and build a 1000 Megawatt renewable power plant which would be cheaper than a coal plant to run. With all the resources and innovativeness Google had and the ingenuity of its engineers, the project failed. The two leaders of the project declared that it was not possible to acheive the goal of cheaper electricty than with coal (4 to 6 US cents per unit). The problem is that it is not just power that the utility companies want. They want despatcheable power that can be ramped up and down quickly. Unfortunately, most of today's renewable power is not depatcheable or 'rampeable'. Ex: Solar panels can be put on every roof but there is no solar power after sundown unless you have batteries. And if you have batteiries your cost goes up.

        Contd….

      • 0
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        The Bombshell Continuation…

        But the real bombshell is not that. Even if everyone stops all fossil powered stations right now and changes over to imaginary Google designed renewable power plant that produce despatcheable and ‘rampeable’ at a cost of less than 2 US cents per unit, climate change will not be stoppable. We would be left with ruinous amounts of CO2 already in the atmosphere and it will take centuries for it to return to safe levels.

        What this means is that we need Carbon sinks right now and that like cheap, despatcheable and ‘rampeable’ renewable power, is simply not available with the best technology that is available at present. Nor can we say for sure what it is going to be.

        Google says, that what we need are disruptive breakthrough technologies. They give as examples for power production, disruptive fusion technology that bypasses steam (as used in coal fired plant like Norochcholai) and convert high energy charged particles directly to electrical energy. Another is to replace natural gas by cheaply synthesized methane.

        For removing CO2 already in the atmosphere, they are suggesting, bio engineering of special crops that absorb CO2 and stash it in the soil on a massive scale.

        Google’s approach to innovation is the 70-20-10 rule. 70% employee effort for core business. 20% for side projects related to core business. 10% for strange new ideas (may I say crazy ideas) that are truly disruptive.

        They conclude by saying that “we need technologies that do not require government subsidies or regulations. Rather than depending on the high ideals of politicians, we should depend on the self-interests of businesses.”

        I don’t think my Guru Prof. Kumar David is going to like that last para.

        • 0
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          Bio Gas

          Sorry Sama, I have digressed and not answered your question about bio gas. I must confess that I do not know much about it. Perhaps someone else enlighten us?

          • 0
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            Okay, Okay. Sama, that is not the real reason. The moment I open my mouth about that stuff (do I have to be explicit? I think not) the whole pack will descend on me saying I am dragging down a decent discussion to the level of you know what. You tell me how I can discuss biogas without using that tetravalent word?

    • 0
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      Edwin,
      You have successfully killed a fly with a sledge-hammer. But I suppose somebody is bound to ask “why not convert the whole grid to 24/36 volt DC to accommodate solar panels?”

      • 0
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        Let us take an example. Take your kettle. It has a power consumption of about 1500 Watts. There is a famous formula which says:

        Watts = Voltage X Current

        Your house has 240 Volts. So, what is the current that the kettle takes. Current will be equal to Watts/Volts = 1500/240 = 6.25 Amperes, a current that the wiring of the socket can carry safely without getting over heated.

        Now calculate the Current if the Voltage = 24 V, We get 1500/24 = 62.5 Amperes. That is a huge current that those wires cannot stand. To withstand the current, you will have to change the wires to 10 time bigger. Too costly and too bulky.

        Additionally, these wires have a resistance. The voltage at the kettle will be much lower than 24 Volts. What happens to the lost voltage? It is converted to heat. Wastage, risk of fire etc makes it impractical. So the LV wiring is only suitable for lights, TV, fridge etc only.

        The same thing applies when you consider much larger amounts of power. Let us take the Polpitiya – Kolnnawa high voltage transmission lines. The voltage of these is 220,000 volts. Thus, to bring 1,000,000 watts of power from the generators at Polpitiya to Kolonnawa (the receiving station of Colombo) we need 1,000,000/220,000 = 4.5 Amperes.

        If our voltage is only 220 volts the current will go up to 4545 amperes. The problems of voltage, heating up, wastage, etc makes it completely impractical.

        Thus, high voltages are used for transporting bulk power over long distances and this being stepped down to 230 Volts very efficiently when it reaches your home, using transformers. In the Middle East we go up to 400,000 volts.

        Hope that is clear.

        • 1
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          Edwin,
          I was only being sarcastic, not expecting you to use your sledge-hammer.

          • 1
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            Sorry. I thought you were serious. Anyway I enjoyed writing that post.

  • 0
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    The Great Power Robbery

    My cousin has installed a large Solar Power system for his home recently. The capacity of this storage-less system is large enough to make his bill zero (or even negative). But does it mean that he does not depend on CEB anymore as he likes to say? NO! Here are the ways he depends on CEB.

    1) In the night and other no sun periods he draws power from the CEB.

    2) When he starts one of his AC’s, a large portion of the starting current, is taken from the CEB. His system cannot stand that.

    3) He depends on the CEB for the frequency and voltage control of his system. If CEB power fails, he has no power even with full sunlight because his system cannot operate as an isolated system.

    Who is paying for the upkeep of the CEB system that my cousin uses without paying a cent?

    The poor Putujjana like US who do not have millions to invest in Solar Power systems like my cousin. We pay and he gets it free. Isn’t that robbery of the poor to pay the rich?

    If all of us spend millions and install PV systems large enough to make our bills zero, CEB ekata Deiyangema pihitay, Neda?

    • 1
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      “Who is paying for the upkeep of the CEB system that my cousin uses without paying a cent? The poor Putujjana like US who do not have millions to invest in Solar Power systems like my cousin. We pay and he gets it free. Isn’t that robbery of the poor to pay the rich? “

      Best explanation of solar economics so far. Prof.Kumar would be proud of you.

      • 0
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        Thanks. But Silvesrtra, my severest critic in everything I do, is not impressed. I explained the system to her as best as I could and she said, “Mr. Edwin, I am no education poor housekeeper. Small fish eat by big fish. Big fish by more big fish. and like that. Anyway in Philippines like that. I think every place same same. Your cousin shark. but he pay something bigger shark.” If my cousin sees that there will be a family feud. So let us stop there.

        Thanks old codger. I will be very happy if my Guru is pleased.

  • 0
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    Edwin’s Great New Idea

    I just got this great idea. May be it was inspired by the Appa breakfast prepared by Silvestra.

    I already wrote about my cousin and CEB. Replace CEB by India and My cousin by Sri lanka (CEB). The Cousin – CEB power connection is replaced by a India – Sri Lanka grid interconnection. What we have then is a similar situation on an international scale. Now picture the following scenario.

    We make an initial investment on new PV and wind plant just sufficient to make the net energy interchange via the link equal to zero. Just to make the Indians happy, we buy all our PV and Wind installations from India.

    We shutdown all our thermal plant and keep them on standby until we scrap them. We operate hydro + PV + wind plant on full throttle.

    So what we have here is basically the same situation as the Cousin – CEB situation. Just look at the benefits.

    1- We spend nothing on our electricty as a country.

    2- We get no pollution.

    3- All shady deals on coal, thermal power and so on come to an end.

    4- CEB does not have to worry about learning spinning reserve, frequency and voltage control etc. about which they know next to nothing now.

    5- CEB employees would be doing nothing (they are not doing anything any way even now) and they can all be put to clear the garbage dump at Meetotamulla. Judging by the way they disperse garbage now, they should be excelling in the new job.

    6- The consumers including Putujjana pay nothing.

    I don’t think even Google can come up with such an innovative solution all Sama’s simple question and inspired by silvestra’s Appa breakfast. All we need is someone who is as good as Silvestra in diplomacy to negotiate with the Indians.

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      I saw the other day the chairman of DSI claiming that Indian cars are exported only to Sri Lanka because of low quality. What if he comes up with a similar argument about Indian electricity?

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        DSI should stick to things they know – the tyres.

        Old codger, we can take the Saudi- Bahrain interconnection as an example. The Saudi system is huge compared to Bahrain like India is to Sri Lanka. This is a 600 MVA, 90 km, 50 Hz AC link comprising of a 400 kV undersea cable section and a 220 KV overhead transmission line.

        The interconnection is for supply security only. Normally the link is floating (i.e.) no power flowing in either direction. In case of any problem on either side (e.g.) generation shortfalls, the link supplies the required difference.

        As GCC is planning to go nuclear, the large interconnected grid provides the necessary conditions that IAEA demands. It has improved supply reliability tremendously.

        In the case of Sri Lanka – India interconnection, pointing at any possible shortcomings of the Indian grid by us would be like the pot calling the kettle black. I am certain that supply reliability can only improve with the interconnection. I also have hopes that relieved of any tendencies on the part of the CEB engineers to look for ways of making money, more time will be spent, doing things such as how to improve things.

        Just to illustrate how bad things are, the Indian Dendro power plant near Mirigama that I mentioned has a serious problem. It trips frequently due to grid frequency variations. My Guru AKD insists that I am wrong and it is the system voltage not frequency. Great! That exonerates CEB. I believe that the Guru is always right – even when he is wrong. At least unlike the DSI guy, he is talking about something he knows well.

        With that, I rest my case.

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    Electricity is a human invention. He brought it to the current status. If there is cost incentive, new methods will be developed and produced. American engineers came out with new methods when the oil price was $150. It went down to $25. One can expect world move towards safer inventions, based on the money available to inventions.

    But the Lankawe need is very small because the Island is small. All four sides covered with water. The environment is highly pollution tolerant for nonrenewable fuel than many other nations. But the problem is only with pure politics.

    Nuraicholai $250 million power plant was negotiated to $540. For that price jack up, instead of coal burning, one can burn diamonds; instead of Uranium rods, one can insert diamond rods to reactors. Within last four years, the plant has died 40 times. For that kind of troubles, homeowners can hand crank their generators. Highly reliable German transformers were set on fire two times by CEB. China wrote a 16 page report on these CEB goons’ qualifications. Nobody bothered about it. These rowdies are real challenge for the international engineering experts. I would advise the German – Japan manufactures to employ couple of CEB engineers, like the computer software companies employ hackers. Then they will be able to manufacture highly fault tolerant machines.

    Sampur was allocated to India only to keep Sampur under Appe Aanduwa control after wiping out LTTE from there. India wanted to build a plant in Lankawe only to compete China’s plant, a security issue. (Same like Hangbangtota Vs Trinco.) Sonia refused to give 50% to Champika. Deal did not go though. When Modi came, Sampanthar managed to get back the part of the land.

    Are these energy policies? How one arrive at ideal mix of Renewable/ nonrenewable for Lankawe under this?

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