44pc of power generation capacity remains unused

► BPDB asked to prepare position paper for power export
► Export from gas-fired plants to get priority

Shamim Jahangir

15 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

44pc of power generation capacity remains unused

Bangladesh is planning to export its surplus electricity to neighbouring India during winter season as around 44 percent of the country’s power generation capacity remains unused, officials said.

Power Division last week asked the state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) to prepare a detailed position paper in this matter.

The government has an initial plan to export gas-fired electricity as its production cost is more competitive than the electricity generated in coal-fired or oil-based plants.

The production cost of the gas-fired electricity is around Tk 3 per kilowatt hour whereas it is more than Tk 17 per kilowatt from the HFO-fired plants, officials concerned said.

Bangladesh has imported per unit (kwh) of electricity at Tk 6.48 from India on an average. Now Bangladesh imports around 1160MW of electricity from India.

Bangladesh’s electricity generation cost will fall significantly after the start of electricity generation from the under-construction Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and a series of the coal-fired power projects, the officials said.

   The country has already discussed with its Indian counterpart to export the electricity at a joint-steering committee meeting and joint working group meeting with the Indian counterpart in January, 2021.

“The Power Division of Bangladesh and Power Division of India will have same meeting in late this year on Indo-Bangla power sector cooperation. We will discuss the matter and expect to settle the issue,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

The official said Bangladesh has currently 44 percent surplus in capacity against the generation of 25,227 MW. The surplus is projected to increase to 27 percent in 2030 despite the government plans to scrap some coal-fired power plants, he said.

In a recent meeting, Power Division officials discussed the issue of electricity export on both G-to-G and commercial bases.

Officials said the export of electricity on commercial basis will not be economically viable as the power cost of India is comparatively lower than Bangladesh.

Bangladesh will consider capacity payment, energy diversity, seasonal demand and other factors to produce per unit of electricity. 

They said Bangladesh’s electricity exports on G-to-G basis would be commercially viable from the gas-fired plants.        

The country will need to run costly oil-fired plants for meeting the growing demand of electricity during summer whereas the operation of the low-cost gas-fired plants become idle in winter due to a reduced demand of electricity.

Power Division requested the BPDB to prepare the position paper accommodating the data of possible exports of electricity to India and its production gap with transmission line facilities and other factors.