India over takes China for power projects near Jaffna

Sri Lanka has issued tenders choosing India over China for power projects near Jaffna, shortly after President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s New Delhi trip.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) recently called for tenders to execute the hybrid power projects in three northern islands of Sri Lanka using a grant of $12 million from India, according to Colombo-based sources.

Sri Lanka, in January 2021, awarded the contract to Chinese firm Sinosar-Etechwin to install a hybrid renewable energy system in Nainativu, Delft or Neduntheevu and Analaitivu off the coast of Jaffna, but scrapped it later after India protested the Chinese involvement. This led to a commercial rift with China. The Chinese embassy also raised concerns with the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government. Then, Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma took the decision to scrap the tender awarded to the Chinese company.

Later, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo also tweeted that the suspension of the project was due to a ‘security concern’ from a third party, and has inked a contract with the Maldivian Government to establish solar power plants in 12 islands in the Maldives.
India has already ventured out to invest in Sri Lanka’s energy sector with the aim of interconnection of the two national grids. Adani, a leading Indian company, has secured project approval to start two wind power plants in Mannar and Pooneryn to generate about 350 MW of power. The company is expected to commission the project by 2025.

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