The already over-capacity fossil-fuel based power generation should gradually be scaled down alongside encouraging power from clean energy in the new master plan, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) suggested on Thursday.
It said the excess capacity will remain a major challenge in the next five years. If the current power generation plan continues, the excess capacity will soar by 30.7 per cent by 2025, it estimated.As per the plan of BPDB, a total of 21,977MW electricity will be added by 2025, raising the total capacity to 36,018 MW against 24,952MW estimated demand, CPD said.
“Such a huge excess capacity would be a major burden for the BPDB. The BPDB in no way in a position to further enhance the generation capacity which is mostly fossil-fuel based, mainly LNG,” CPD researcher Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem remarked.
CPD’s observation came at a virtual dialogue on “Proposed Power and Energy System Master Plan (PESMP): Challenges of Projecting Rational Electricity Demand.
Previous master plans have projected faulty power demand based on only one variable GDP or GDP growth, which CPD termed a “weak method.”
It is also against the long-term demand projection as the plans are revised every five years.
Instead, BPDB should take measures to gradually scale down the fossil-fuel-based power generation by discouraging new investment in power generation through coal, LNG and petroleum-based energy, Dr Moazzem suggested.Apart from higher installed capacity, CDP also sees challenges in power transmission and distribution in the upcoming days.
“The new power and energy system master plan (PESMP) should focus on ensuring green and sustainable energy within the country as part of undertaking preparation for smooth LDC graduation,” Dr Moazzem said.
The new plan should apply a new method for demand forecast, consider limitations of earlier methods, aim to reduce excess installed capacity in phases, and focus on a transition to clean power from fossil-fuel based ones.
The CPD also welcomed the government decision to phase out 20 coal-based power plants out of 23 already installed or upcoming coal-based power plants.
“There are huge discrepancies between different government agencies. Even, the 8th five-year plan projects 24,000MW power demand for 2021 whereas the present demand is only 13,000MW,” former adviser to the caretaker government Dr M Tamim said, pointing fingers to faulty demand estimate.
He said all the predictions made in five-year plans were predicated on GDP elasticity, but the projected industrial growth could not be achieved.
The government is paying price for the overcapacity as it has pay Tk 90 billion as capacity payment to rental powers even after they remain idle, Prof Anu Muhammad repented.
He also vented frustration over formulating master plans by hiring foreign experts, questioning: “Has not Bangladesh been able to produce any experts for doing the job over the last 50 years?”
Energy expert Dr Ijaz Hossain, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki, Jica chief representative Hayakawa Yuho, among others, also addressed the dialogue.