Maximization of Energy Generation from Small Hydro power Plants in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a number of small waterfalls and channels, which have significant potential to develop mini hydro power plant thus to generate much needed electricity for country’s development efforts. Mini hydro power plant cause less environmental effects compared to large scale hydro power generation and power generation using fossil fuel. Therefore, it is a timely requirement to explore the possibilities of utilizing small water streams to generate electricity as much as possible as well as to optimize the energy generation with the available water in those water streams. The importance of small hydro power is highlighted in the Sri Lanka’s energy generation plan, and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) annual report states that in year 2011 total installed capacity of mini-hydro plant was around 200MW and it is expected to expand energy generation to around 800GWh.
This study focuses to find out optimum operating parameters to maximize the energy generation of existing small hydro power plant in the country. By selecting a few small hydro power plants, preliminary studies were performed to identify optimum values of water flow rate to maximize the efficiency of the power generation. The study revealed that the selected plant had not operated at the maximum efficiency; hence they did not optimally utilize the available water.