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The Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities has published a draft of its Energy Strategy 2011-2025 Action Plan (to meet the conditions attached to a Rs 1.4 billion grant from the EU). It contains some praiseworthy elements such as setting minimum efficiency standards for electrical appliances and the installation of photovoltaic panels on schools. However, these “green” intentions are dwarfed by plans to install 100MW of coal generation by 2015 with a further 100MW of coal or liquid natural gas by 2023. With today’s baseload (i.e. minimum) demand of some 200MW already covered by the bagasse/coal independent power producers, one has to question why so much more baseload (efficient but relatively inflexible) power stations are necessary.

The high penetration of intermittent renewable energies (e.g. solar and wind) requires flexible plant to make room for them when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and to make up for them when they are not. By adding so much baseload generation, we will be locked into CO2 producing fossil fuels for decades while closing the door to significant contributions from wind and solar. This raises some questions:

  1. Is the Ministry of Energy committed to MID?
  2. How does this fit with the development of the MID strategy during the second half of this year?
  3. Does the EU really care what is in the action plan?