July 14, Kotmale: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ceremonially declared open the country's last mass scale power plant, the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Plant with the participation of the Japanese Ambassador Nobihito Hobo.
The US$ 450 million hydropower plant was constructed with the assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The government contributed 8.548 billion rupees to the project.
The run of river hydropower project consisting of two units of 75 MW will add 150 MW to the national power grid to produce 409GWh energy per year. The first unit commenced operations in March this year.
Construction work on the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Plant was launched in March 2006 after decades of delays.
A 180-meter long and 355-meter high bund was constructed across the Kothmale Oya to make the Upper Kothmale reservoir. The water, from the 65-acre reservoir with a capacity of 800,000 cubic meters, is carried through a 12.9 kilometers long tunnel to the two underground 75 MW generators to generate power. The water is released back to the Kothmale Oya.
The government built 495 houses for the residents of the Upper Kotmale area displaced by the project.
Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Ministers Navin Dissanayake, C.B. Rathnayaka and Muttu Sivalingam, Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, parliamentarian Sri Ranga also participated in the occasion.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)