Surplus power expected despite scrapping of 10 coal projects

Deal with Nepal next month to import 700MW hydropower

Special Correspondent

28 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh’s national electricity grid will still have 13,313 megawatts (MW) of surplus electricity by 2030 despite scrapping 10 proposed coal-fired power projects.

The government has officially announced to scrap 10 proposed power projects having a combined generation capacity of 8,451MW of electricity as the projects were not implemented during their stipulated time.

State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid gave details about the decision during a briefing at Bangladesh Secretariat on Sunday.

The Daily Sun on Thursday ran (June 24) the news on the government’s decision to scrap 10 coal-based power plants. Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) have already lauded the government’s decision to scrap the coal projects.

The scrapped power plants are -- Patuakhai (660X2) 1320 MW coal-fired power plant and Uttarbanga 1200 MW thermal plant owned by state-owned Ashuganj Power Company Ltd, Mawa 522 MM coal-fired power plant, Dhaka 282 MW coal-fired power plant, Chattogram 282 MW coal-fired power plant and Khulna 565 MW coal-fired power plant owned by Orion Group, Maheshkhali 1320 MW coal-fired power plant and another Maheshkhali 1320 MW coal-fired power plant owned by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Bangladesh-Singapore 700 MW coal-fired power plant under a joint venture of Sembcorp and state-run Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Ltd (CPGCBL) and another 1200 MW coal-fired power plant under a joint venture of Japanese Sumitomo and CPGCBL.

All the scrapped projects were supposed to supply electricity under long-term contracts for 20 years.

The ministry of power, energy and mineral resources (MPEMR) has decided to cancel these coal-fired power projects as part of the adaptation of new technologies in power generation as it seeks to revise the country’s power system master plan (PSMP).

Scrapping of these power plants will not adversely impact power supply to the national grid as some alternative plants are now under constructions and would generate electricity to meet the demands, Nasrul Hamid said.

Electricity supply to Dhaka, Mymensingh and Rangpur will remain unaffected after the cancellation of 10 coal-based power plants as surplus electricity from other areas will be used to recover the deficiency, said the state minister.

Nasrul Hamid, however, said some of the scrapped coal-fired power plants might have the opportunity to implement LNG-fired power plants.

He said there is also a plan to increase the import of LNG (liquefied natural gas) to set up more gas-based power plants across the country as this fuel is easily available.

Bangladesh will also import around 700 MW of hydropower from Nepal to meet the country’s future electricity demand.

A power purchase agreement with Nepal will be inked sometime next month, Nasrul Hamid said.

He said the government is also exploring the scope to invest in hydropower projects in Nepal and import the electricity through electricity transmission line over neighbouring India.

He said discussions are underway with both Nepal and Bhutan to set up hydropower plants there under a bipartite or tripartite arrangement.

Bangladesh will be able to export ‘surplus’ electricity to Nepal during the dry season, he added.

The government has a plan to take gas pipeline to south-western and northern regions including Gopalganj through Padma Bridge, he said.

The minister also said there will be a special thrust on renewable energy promotion in the future planning of electricity as part of the country’s commitment to the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is currently chair of the organisation.

Bangladesh has pledged to the CVF to generate 40 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2041, he added.