The government has proposed Tk28,051 crore for Power Energy and Mineral Resources Division in the next Fiscal Year of 2019-20, a Tk1,549 crore higher than the outgoing FY’18-19.
But the proposed allocation for the sector covers as much as 5.36 percent, .63% down from the earlier coverage of 5.99 percent in the total budget of the current fiscal that ends on June 30.The government has prioritized coal-fired power projects, transmission and distribution network and offshore gas exploration in the proposed budget.
Bearing in mind the slogan of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for ensuing electricity for all households, the government has set the target to generate 24,000 MW of electricity by 2021, 40,000 by 2030, and 60,000 by 2041 respectively.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the projects for power generation, distribution and transmission are in different phases of implementation to meet the demand of electricity in short, medium and in long term.
“The benefits of these initiatives are already visible,” he claimed during the budget speech.
He narrated that the power generation capacity has increased to 21,169 megawatts, and approximately 93 percent of population have access to electricity.
Besides, the projects for construction of 53 power plants with capacity to generate 14,202 megawatts of electricity are underway, he said.In addition, signing contracts for the establishment of 18 new power plants with a capacity to produce 5,801 MW of power is also under way, he mentioned at the House.
Moreover, invitation for tender for seven power plants with a capacity to generate 1,410 megawatts of electricity is in the offing.
Plans have been taken up to establish 17 power plants with a capacity to generate 19,650 MW of electricity in near future.
“In order to ensure energy security and sustainable energy supply system, we have plans to reduce the use of fuel to 15 percent by 2021 and 20 percent by 2030,” the finance minister said.
Fuel diversification has been adopted as a strategy to reduce dependency on natural gas for electricity generation and for energy security.
The present government has implemented various projects to set up coal-based power plants as an alternative to natural gas.
Some mega projects are being implemented at Paira, Moheshkhali and Materbari classified as power hub.
“We selected these vicinities considering the land availability, transport facilities and load centres.”
The mega projects that are worth mentioning include 1,320 megawatts Maitree Super Critical Thermal Power Plant, Rampal, 1200 MW Ultra Super Critical Coal Project, Materbari and Payra 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant Project.
“Steps have been taken to establish 10,000 megawatts coal-based power plant at Moheshkhali through joint investment,” he said.
Besides the natural gas and coal-based power plants, setting up of a nuclear power plant at Rooppur with a power generation capacity of 2,400 megawatts is in progress. In order to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), an alternative to indigenous natural gas, to ensure energy security in the country, two Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) with a daily capacity of 1000 million cubic feet have been installed, which currently adds around 650 million cubic feet LNG daily to the national grid.
Under this long-term plan, the government is working with neighbouring countries for regional and sub-regional cooperation. As a result, power is being imported from India since 2013.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between Bangladesh and Nepal for bilateral cross-border trade of electricity while negotiation is going on to import 500 MW of electricity.
The signing of an MOU between Bangladesh, India and Bhutan to import hydro power from Bhutan is under way.
There are targets to generate 10 percent of the total electricity from renewable sources by 2020. In order to promote electricity generation at the rooftops of private buildings using solar home system, a “Net Metering Guideline” has been prepared.
Steps have been taken to install solar system panels at the rooftops of all educational institutions.
Besides, the total transmission line has now increased to 11 thousand 493 circuit kilometres and the distribution line to 5 lakh and 8 thousand kilometers.
To ensure uninterrupted power supply, the government has been implementing a plan to install 28,000 circuit kilometers transmission lines and 6 lakh and 60 thousand kilometres distribution line through different projects by 2030.
By next year, each upazila of the country will have 100 percent access to electricity.
“When we began our journey in 2009, the amount of power in the national grid was 3,200 megawatts, with 47 percent population enjoying the electricity connection while today the power generation stands at 12,893 megawatts, with 93 percent population having power connectivity.
On the other hand, the supply of gas was 1,443 million cubic feet, which has now increased to 2,746 million cubic feet.
“We have undertaken short, medium and long-term plans to explore and extract unexplored gas and oil in land and sea areas,” the minister said.
By now, the excavation of 24 oil wells has been completed by BAPEX. After gaining the new maritime boundary from India and Myanmar, Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) have been signed with international oil companies for 4 offshore blocks to explore oil and gas in the sea areas of Bangladesh.
“To accelerate oil and gas exploration and extraction, new bidding rounds will commence after the approval of model PSC for both offshore and onshore fields,” he said.