Infrastructure Imbroglio
Energy & Power|August 16 2017

It was on March 22, 2012 when the Power Division of the government at a seminar unveiled a mega plan for increasing power generation in the country. Presenting the keynote paper, the then Chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board Engr.

Mollah Amzad Hossain

ASM Alamgir Kabir spoke about the government’s target to achieving 20,000 MW power generation capacity by 2017. Of the capacity, 24% or 4,938 MW would be generated from coal. In five years starting from 2014, the generation from coal would be increased by 21%. It was told that whatever has been achieved following the Power Sector Master Plan (PSMP) 2010 would not be enough for meeting the rising power demand. Hence the mega plan is being put forward with short, medium and long term action plans. It was told that immediately after formation of the new government in 2009, actions were underway from 2010 for increasing the generation following the PSMP 2010. The essence of that mega plan was achieving 40,000 MW generation capacity by 2030 of which 50% or 20,000 MW would be generated from coal. Local coal would contribute 30% and imported coal the remaining 20%.

Road shows were staged in different countries for attracting investment in the power and energy sector. The first such road shows were held in London in December 2009. Alamgir Kabir in his presentation there had claimed that the power tariff will be needed to be increased for the contingency power generation. The then bulk tariff required increasing from Tk 2.37 to over Tk4.00/kwh. By 2016, it might go beyond Tk6.00. But, he said,after the availability of power from new coal fired power plants the tariff would again come down below Tk4.00/kwh. But the reality is that since 2009 the power tariff remains always on the increase. Now the power generation cost is Tk 5.50/kwh. It is lower than Tk 0.77/Kwh from the previous financial year. But the bulk tariff has increased. It is now Tk4.90/Kwh.

As in August 2017, the power system mega dream ended unrealised. The installed generation capacity is now 13,555 MW, including 660 MW import from India. The contribution of coal is less than 2%. Despite major failure, the guardians of power and energy sector are now up beating that “we will not stay behind though we failed once”. Bangladesh with its own capability would start coal power generation from 2019 and start feeding the national power grid. Payra Power Plant project of China-Bangladesh joint venture would anchor the mega march.The much talked about and widely debated Rampal Power Plant would start generation from 2020.

As of now, there are three positive developments could be mentioned in cases of coal power generation projects and associated infrastructure development. Some 19% progress has so far been made in top priority 1,320 MW Payra power project. On the other hand, Indian EPC contractor Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) has started preparation for Rampal Power Plant, following the loan agreement with Indian Exim Bank for the Bangladesh-India Moitree Power plant. On July 27 this year,an agreement was signed with Japanese Sumitomo Corporation for 1,200 MW imported coal based power plant at Matarbari and associated coal port.

Payra 1,320 MW Power Plant

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