By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated July 23, 2020
India plans to set up a solar power plant in Sri Lanka. This is part of its concerted strategy to tackle China and project its presence in the Indian Ocean region. NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation utility, would be part of this project under the aegis of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
A senior government official said India is also exploring the option of an overhead electricity link with Sri Lanka as part of efforts to create a new-energy ecosystem for the neighbourhood. India has been working on improving the energy infrastructure in the island nation.
Ceylon Electricity Board has an installed power generation capacity of about 35.8 gigawatts (GW). Petronet LNG Ltd had earlier announced its plans of setting up a liquified natural gas terminal in Sri Lanka.
NTPC’s Sri Lanka solar foray is part of targeting similar contracts to help set up 10 GW solar capacity in ISA member countries. Green energy projects account for over a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity of 370 GW.
In March, the Ceylon Electricity Board had issued a request for proposals from foreign and domestic companies to develop and maintain 150 MW of solar projects at various locations in Sri Lanka. The bidder would design, construct, test and commission, operate and maintain the power transmission lines at 33 kV voltage level.
New Delhi was pushing NTPC to win these contracts with the backing of ISA, the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India that is increasingly being viewed as a foreign policy tool.