Monday, 6 February, 2023

Govt to scrap 1000MW diesel-fired power plants

Primary fuel import cost for power sector projected to be $20-$25 billion a year by 2030

  • Special Correspondent
  • 4 December, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Govt to scrap 1000MW diesel-fired power plants
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid (middle) speaks at a seminar on ‘Energy Transition: Global Context and Bangladesh’ at Biddut Bhaban in the city on Saturday.

The government will close 1000 megawatts of costly diesel-fired power plants by the middle of 2023.

State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid disclosed this at a seminar on “Energy Transition: Global Context and Bangladesh” as the chief guest.

 Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) organised the seminar at Bidyut Bhaban in Dhaka yesterday.

“1000 MW diesel-fired power plants will be phased out by June, 2023. The rest of the diesel-fired plants will also shut down within a year or two,” Nasrul Hamid said.

He added that the government will promote rooftop solar, solar irrigation and electric vehicle charging stations to reduce dependency on oil import.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) senior secretary Md Mahbub Hossain and Power Division secretary Md Habibur Rahman attended the seminar as special guests while FERB chairman Md Shamim Jahangir chaired the seminar.

Prof M Tamim of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) presented the keynote paper.

Prof  Badrul Imam of Dhaka University, Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Md Mahbubur Rahman also attended. FERB executive director M Nasrullah moderated the seminar. 

Power Division secretary Md Habibur Rahman said, “The Power Division is working to phase out the diesel-fired power plants. Some dual fuel combined cycle power plants will then be allowed to run.”

He said the diesel-fired power plants will be replaced with renewable energy plants.

The secretary, however, said that the country will require energy economists who will help the country for energy transition in crisis moments.

Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said the government has scrapped the 10 planned coal-fired power plants considering the goal for clean energy.

“But, some western countries have started electricity generation from coal again. Pricing is an important factor for energy transition,” he said.

In his keynote speech, Prof M Tamim said that Bangladesh should not rush in decision making on the basis of the current crisis.

He suggested the demand forecast based on sector wise bottom up growth projection on a 5-10 year time frame should be undertaken.

Prof Tamim underscored the need of a team of world class energy trading professionals to deal with future energy purchases and contracts mitigating risks.

 “The team should do a comprehensive world resource inflow and outflow analysis.”

Prof M Tamim recommended, “Along with local supply (both gas and coal), we must secure steady and sustainable sourcing of primary energy by import – coal, gas, cross border electricity, nuclear fuel.”

“Every aspect of renewable energy and efficiency improvement should be vigorously encouraged, funded and supported by policy,” he pointed out.

The energy expert said, “Solar rooftop, irrigation, parks in the unused government acquired lands can easily achieve at least 5000 MW by 2030. The government must take the initial lead.”

A separate study on energy and efficiency technology adaptation should be undertaken, he said, calling for “immediate investment in grid upgradation and making highly trained independent system operators.”  

Prof Tamim said, “Yearly primary fuel import cost for power sector will require $20 to $25 billion by 2030.”