IBEF: July 24, 2020
India plans to build a solar power park in Sri Lanka as part of a strategy to project its presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) amid Chinese attempts to lure nations into its ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.
India’s largest power generation utility NTPC Ltd plans to set up this project in the island nation under the aegis of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
This comes as the presence of Chinese in the Indian Ocean Region has been increasing and is considered as sphere of influence by India. On July 20, 2020, the Indian Navy conducted joint exercises in the Bay of Bengal with the US Navy, which sailed in with an aircraft carrier battle group led by the USS Nimitz.
“We are looking at setting up a solar park in Sri Lanka," said a senior Indian government official.
India has been working on improving the energy infrastructure in Sri Lanka. State-run Ceylon Electricity Board has an installed power generation capacity of around 35.8 gigawatts (GW).
Earlier, Petronet LNG Ltd announced its plans of setting up a liquefied natural gas terminal in Sri Lanka.
It is also exploring laying an overhead electricity link with Sri Lanka as part of efforts to create a new-energy ecosystem in the South Asian neighbourhood. China is already one of the biggest investors in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
This will be NTPC’s second foray after Colombo scrapped a proposal to set up a US$ 500 million coal-fuelled power project in Trincomalee over environmental concerns in 2016.
Though, no official statement was released by NTPC or India’s ministry of new and renewable energy.
With an installed capacity of 62.91 GW, NTPC’s Sri Lanka solar move is one of several such contracts being pursued to help build 10 GW solar capacity in ISA member countries.
Currently, Green energy projects accounts for more than a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity of 370 GW.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.