“We are looking at an offshore project in East Africa and will also get into bio-mass projects,” Krishan Nanayakkara, CEO, Hemas Power told the Business Times. He said that last year, the company saw a 75% growth in earnings, which he explained was mainly due to the high rainfall. “But this year we had a severe drought, which is what forced us to look beyond Sri Lanka,” he explained further, adding that as at now they won’t go into the South Asian region as the scope there is limited.
He said that Hemas Power is waiting for the green-light from the state authorities for about two to three hydro projects. Mr. Nanayakkara added that of the Rs.626 million raised through the company’s public issue Hemas Power bought Senok Mark Hydro project for Rs.132 million. The balance monies were utilized to develop their Magala Ganga project.
On the power sector outlook and its future, he noted that the power generation sector will become a key catalyst when the country moves into a high growth era. Although over 86% of the country’s households are electrified, the per capita electricity consumption in Sri Lanka even in comparison to other South Asian countries is amongst the lowest. "If the per capita income level of Sri Lankans increases at a faster pace as widely anticipated, it appears obvious that the household electricity consumption will rise," Mr. Nanayakkara said, noting that greater economic activity could also fuel greater electricity demand from the industry front too.
He added that since a positive correlation exists between national growth and electricity demand, the demand for electricity in post-war Sri Lanka in the medium-term is poised to increase. “As per the Long-term Generation Plan (LTGP) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) the country’s electricity demand is estimated to increase by 5,430MW by 2022. We believe this to be considerably higher now as the LTGP estimates were prepared before the war was concluded.” He further said that 2,740MW of this demand is expected to be met through coal-power plants. “We believe that having coal-fired power generation to such a magnitude albeit its perceived lower operational cost compared to oil-burning power plants could pose different challenges especially on the environment front. In this context, it is seemingly imperative that efforts to maximize usage of renewable energy resources to generate power are fast tracked,” he added.