Anti-Graft Body Demands Transparency in Adani Wind Power Project

Earlier this year, Adani Green Energy (Sri Lanka) Ltd was provisionally approved for two wind power plants of 250 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn.

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[Photo courtesy of Buwanaka S. Perera/Ground views]

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has filed a series of Right to Information (RTI) requests with public authorities seeking crucial information regarding the transparency, legality, evaluation process, pricing, government involvement, and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) related to the Wind Power Project in Mannar and Pooneryn, involving India’s Adani Group. 

Earlier this year, Adani Green Energy (Sri Lanka) Ltd was provisionally approved for two wind power plants of 250 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn. TISL is deeply concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding this project, which has raised significant economic and ecological concerns. 

Recently it was reported that Sri Lanka will be paying a fixed price of 8.26 US cents per KW (subject to payment in Sri Lankan Rupees as per the actual foreign exchange rate) generated from wind power over the next 20 years. The relevant proposal forwarded by the Power and Energy Minister received the Cabinet approval on May 6, 2024. This unit price contrasts starkly with the current global price, and the continuously decreasing costs associated with wind power generation. According to the statistics of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the global weighted average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of onshore wind fell by 56%, from 8 US cents to 3 US cents per KW between 2010 and 2022.   

Additionally, senior environmentalists have warned about irreversible ecological damage to the Mannar Corridor, one of the world’s critical migratory bird corridors, due to the installation of wind turbines in the area. Concerns have also been raised about the credibility of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. 

In light of these serious concerns, TISL has filed a total of 11 Right to Information (RTI)requests with key government bodies, including the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers, Power and Energy Ministry, Finance Ministry, Sustainable Energy Authority, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), and Ministry of Tourism and Land. These requests primarily seek information on:  

  1. Transparency and legality of the bidding process: Details on whether the Government of Sri Lanka called for bids and if all the bids/proposals were received. 
  2. Evaluation and selection process: Criteria and indicators used to award the Project to Adani Green Energy Ltd, individuals involved in the bid evaluation and winner selection process, and clarification on whether the Wind Power Project is a government-to-government arrangement. 
  3. Pricing and cost benefits: Documentation demonstrating energy and cost benefits for Sri Lanka, unit price decided for the Project, and justification for any pricing higher than market rates. 
  4. Need and risk assessments: Details about need assessment and risk assessment conducted for the Project, and mitigation methods outlined for potential risks. 
  5. Decision-making process: Information regarding cabinet approval for unsolicited proposals, responses to Request for Proposals, and certified copies of all documentation, communications, analyses, assessments, and reports/minutes related to the decision-making process. 
  6. EIA: Documentation detailing the analysis and decision of the Central Environment Authority to grant approval based on the EIA. 
  7. Land Acquisition: Whether the land acquisition in Mannar and Pooneryn was approved by Cabinet, whether the procedure laid out in the Land Acquisition Act is being followed, and documents detailing the locations, extent and the demarcation of the lands approved for acquisition. 

TISL notes that it has not received comprehensive and timely responses to most of these queries so far, and therefore has resorted to the next step of appealing to relevant designated officers of the authorities.  

TISL urges the government to commit to upholding transparency of this crucial project and to address the concerns raised, for the greater good of the country and its people, as the trustees of our nation’s public resources.  

SLG Syndication

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