Pandemic disrupts power plant projects

Shamim Jahangir

2 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Implementation work at most of the private sponsor medium and large power projects under independent power producers (IPP) mode has been interrupted due to the prolonged pandemic.

The power sponsors, having a combined capacity of generating 2,777MW of electricity from 11 plants, have already sought time extensions ranging from six months to two years to complete the project work.

Of the power projects, 220MW Bhola Power Plant, sponsored by Indian Nutan Bidyut, was scheduled to start electricity generation from December, 2019, the required commercial operation date (RCOD). It has now sought rescheduling of the dates.

“We have already incurred heavy additional costs and losses due to suspension of works since March 2020 due to COVID-19. As the restrictions continue, the additional costs and losses are increasing,” Nutan Bidyut director Subash Chandra Banik said in a Force Majeure letter to the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) last month.

Besides, another Indian 718MW power project sponsored by Reliance Group also said the progress of the project has been delayed since March 15, 2020.

Until the last month, the project made only 41.70 percent of physical progress since the deal became effective in August, 2019, the people concerned said.

The Summit Meghnaghat II 600MW Power plant has also rescheduled the RCOD at least for five months - from March, 2022 to August, 2022.

It said to the Power Division that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project work by at least 15 months.

The 584MW Unique Meghnaghat Power Plant did not confirm the funding due to the pandemic, it said to the Power Division.

On the other hand, the progress of the five medium level power projects, having combined capacity to generate 425MW of electricity under private sector, have also made little progress.

The BPDB gave approval to implement two power projects owned by former member of parliament Aslamul Huq.

The 108MW power projects each at Gabtali and Basila were approved 10 years back. The plants’ bank guarantee date will expire in July, 2021.

Besides, 55MW Fenchuganj power plant sponsored by foreign expatriate has yet to sign gas sale agreement (GSA) to feed the plant. So, the plant also made zero progress.

Despite the delay of the 55MW Narayanganj Purbachal Power Plant due to the pandemic, it has made significant progress. It’s progress rate is so far 88 percent.

As the 99.38MW Mongla Power Plant has yet to receive the environmental clearance, it remained without any visible progress.

Besides, the HFO-based 115MW Chandpur Power Plant and Thakurgaon 115MW Plant are expected to start electricity generation in July, 2021.

These power plants were schedule to RCOD in 2019.

In a review meeting on Sunday, Power Division secretary Md Habibur Rahman has asked the plants authorities to take necessary steps for commissioning the plants as per deals.