Narocholai coal power plant, also knowns as Lakvijaya coal plant is the country’s largest coal power based energy generator located in Norocholai, Puttalam, on the southern-end of the Kalpitiya Peninsula. In spite of protests from civil society and environmental organizations, the construction began in 2007, project completed and operationalized in three phases in 2011, 2013 and 2014 respectively with total power generation of 900 megawatts. The total investment of the project was USD 1.35 billion. The China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) commenced construction and first two phases were completed with the help of soft loans from the Exim bank of China at USD 455 and USD 891 million respectively whereas funding for the third phase remained unknown. It is the country’s first coal fired power plant, provided over 50% of the total electricity to the country. In beginning, plant failed quite a few times causing y 6.5 billion rupees’ reduction of income to the national economy. Later on, however, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) noted the power plant generates around 1.5-million profit per day.
On the other hand, it is noted the plant has serious impacts to the health, safety and livelihoods of the immediate surrounding communities and future generation as well. The plant has caused irreversible damage to the environment including land and sea. It was also reported that the plant was operating with an expired Environmental Protection License (EPL). Locals including fishermen and farmers aggrieved about the social impacts of power plant. The carbon emission has affected the marine life in the region. The plant engineers, in 2018, raised their voices against the socio-environmental impacts of the power plant. Notwithstanding, in 2020, the country’s cabinet has directed CEB for 300mw extension to the existing power plant in agreement with the CMEC.