The Adani group is entering the country through the back door, the Sri Lankan opposition says

SJB slams Rajapaksa government for ‘spoiling PM Modi’s notorious friends’

SJB slams Rajapaksa government for ‘spoiling PM Modi’s notorious friends’

The Adani Group’s “backdoor” entry into Sri Lanka’s energy sector is disrupting the country’s competitive power generation system, the opposition said, accusing the Rajapaksa government of “spoiling” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “notorious friends”.

“It is with great regret that we note that the Adani Group has chosen the back door to enter Sri Lanka. We don’t like to avoid competition. It damages our struggling economy, exacerbates balance of payments problems and causes further misery for our citizens,” said Ajith P. Perera, chief executive of Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB or United People’s Force), Sri Lanka’s main opposition party.

The statement follows an agreement recently signed by India’s Adani Group to build two renewable energy projects in Mannar and Pooneryn in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the signing of which was confirmed by official sources on March 11, 2022, has attracted attention, also because of the apparent secrecy surrounding it.

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The development only came to light after Sri Lankan newspapers reported on the deal, citing officials in Colombo. The agreement for two major renewable energy projects with an estimated investment of US$500 million was signed on the same day that India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) formalized an agreement with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to jointly define them erected a solar power plant in Sampur in the eastern Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka. However, the agreement with the Adani group was not published by either side.

“PM Modi may have given us crucial financial support during our current economic crisis, but that doesn’t mean our renewable energy sector’s most valuable lands and resources can be stolen for his friend Adani… Der [Rajapaksa] The government has many decent ways to thank PM Modi instead of spoiling his notorious friends,” Mr Perera said, adding that a global player like Adani would be “most welcome” through the right channels.

Mr Perera, former Minister of State for Energy and Renewables, said that over the years Sri Lanka had “gained a good grasp” of renewable energy development and built a “robust competitive system” to extract the best value from private investment.

“The bidding rounds conducted by the state CEB have paid off well, realizing 4.00 US cents/kWh for small 10 MW solar projects and 6.50 US cents/kWh for similarly sized wind projects during my tenure (2015-2019). . The pinnacle of renewable energy development was the realization of 4.85 US cents/kWh in the 100 MW Mannar wind power project developed by CEB.”


SJB MP and economist Harsha de Silva said the agreement violates Sri Lanka’s energy laws, specifically the Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Act 2013, which requires a tender for all electricity generation.

“The Mannar Basin has one of the best energy yields. Giving it to an investor outside of a competitive process is a clear violation. We’re talking about 500 MW in one of our best locations,” he said Peppystores.

The CEB has not yet reacted to it Peppystores‘s request for comment.

The latest renewable energy deals in northern Sri Lanka come months after Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani visited Sri Lanka and met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, discussing possible investments in the island nation’s energy sector, coinciding with Colombo’s clean energy push . The projects in Northern Sri Lanka are the Group’s second major investment in Sri Lanka, following the West Container Terminal (WCT) project at the Port of Colombo, in which it holds majority interests.

Even in the WCT project formalized in September 2021, or the former intergovernmental East Container Terminal project it replaced, the Adani Group entered as a ‘nominee’ from the Government of India rather than through a competitive bid, raising due process questions .

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