Friday, 29 September, 2023

Coal shortage forces complete closure of Payra power plant

Payra power plant’s operation was completely shut down at 12:05 pm  on Monday with the shutdown of its second unit due to coal crisis.

The shutdown of power plant triggered more load shedding in Dhaka city and elsewhere, according to BPDB officials.

The other 660 MW unit of the power plant was closed on May 25.

BPDB officials said that due to the shutdown of the 2nd unit of Payra power plant, the country’s load shedding increased to 2675 MW at 12 noon on Monday which was 2287 MW on Sunday.

It means the country had to experience 388 MW of load shedding due to closure of the Payra power plant, said an official of the BPDB referring to the data of the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC).

He said the country generated 12099 MW of electricity against a demand of 14900 at 12 noon.

NLDC’s evening forecast shows that the country’s demand will go up to 15800 MW when generation is expected to be 14,400 MW.

However, officials said the country may experience more than 3500 MW of load shedding in the evening peak period.

The 1,320MW coal-fired power plant is expected to resume its operation on July 1 as the process of importing coal has already started by opening Letter of Credit (LC), said Shah Abdul Hasib, superintendent engineer (operation) at the plant.

He said the shipment will arrive by June 25.

“After the shipment arrives, we will be able to resume the plant’s production by July 1,” he said.

He said opening LC takes some time due to the current global situation and dollar crisis leading to the delay.

Payra power plant needs to import 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal every month to operate the plant in full swing.

The power plant has to spend about $ 5-6 million every month to import the required coal.

Payra power plant officials said the power plant is burning some 13,000 tonnes of coal a day. It has a 76.30-acre dumping zone where 25 years’ worth of by-products can be kept.

The plant is currently importing coal from Indonesia. It has its own jetty whose conveyor belts can unload 3,200 tonnes of coal every hour from four vessels at the same time.

After undergoing test runs for about five months, the first unit of the Payra power plant started commercial operation in May 2020. In October 2020, the second unit of the 660 MW plant, a joint venture of Bangladesh and China, started its commercial operation.