Current unit production cost Tk 56
Mahfuja Mukul: Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has two wind farms at Sonagazi in Feni and Kutubdia in Cox’s Bazar. Their capacity is 900 kilowatts and one megawatt respectively. Another wind power plant of 2 MW has been constructed along the banks of Jamuna, which is undergoing trial operation. Among the three centers, the production of one center was zero in the last financial year and the other center was negative. Only 7 percent of the capacity of Qutubdia center has been utilised. In total, the average cost of wind power production in the fiscal year 2022-23 is about Tk 56.
However, the luxury of wind power does not end here. 10 more wind farms will be built in the public and private sectors, with a combined capacity of 665 MW. However, electricity will be purchased from them in dollars. It will cost $12 to $15 cents. In some centers the cost is higher.
According to sources, the country’s first wind farm was installed in 2005. The center was started on an experimental basis that year alongside the Muhuri irrigation project at Sonagazi in Feni. But it broke down soon after the production started. The center was reopened in February 2014 after almost eight years. However, the center is still closed almost the entire time of the year.
About Tk 7.30 crore is spent on setting up this power plant with a production capacity of 900 kilowatts. It is supposed to generate electricity with the help of four turbines of 225 kW. The power plant has been running erratically since 21 March 2015 after restarting. However, last financial year, the amount of production in this center was zero. Although during this time about Tk 36.35 lakh have been spent on the operation and maintenance of the center.
After investigation, it is known that in the power plant, a 50-meter-high tower, generator, control panel, substation, blades, matching gear elements are installed along with a fan weighing one and a half ton on the head of the 50-meter-high tower. Roads are also constructed from the Muhuri irrigation scheme to the power station for transportation. Apart from laying a connection line of 11/0.4 KV line from the local Palli Vidyut Samiti, two-way meters are also installed for the purchase and sale of generated electricity.
The contractor was responsible for ensuring the generation of 900 KW of electricity by spinning a huge fan in the air. But the contractor failed to do so. Allegedly, the pilot project did not see success due to the use of low-quality Chinese equipment and unskilled contractors. The contractor for the power plant was India’s Nebula Techno Solutions Limited.
Meanwhile, in 2008, a second wind power plant of one megawatt was established in Qutubdia. This center with a capacity of 1 megawatt was first constructed with 50 turbines at a cost of about Tk 15 crore in a vast area next to the embankment of Tablarchar village of Ali Akbar Dale Union of the upazila. But before the project could see the light of day, it was damaged by Cyclone Ila in 2010. Then in 2016, the wind power plant was re-established with 20 turbines in a new shape at a cost of Tk 23.77 crore.
In the financial year 2022-23, about 555,000 units of electricity were generated from the center, which is seven percent of the capacity. Even if there is no fuel cost, the operation and maintenance cost of the center is high. A total of Tk 1.09 crore was spent on the center last financial year. As a result, the electricity production cost per unit falls to Tk 19.61.
On the other hand, the two megawatt plant in Sirajganj has not yet been officially inaugurated. But it is being run experimentally. Electricity is taken from outside to run the center. As a result, the net production of this center was negative by 25 thousand kilowatt hours last financial year. However, the operation and maintenance cost for the center was Tk 1.49 crore.
The former Director General of Power Cell, Engineer BD Rahmatullah blames unplanned initiatives for not being able to utilize wind power even though it has great potential. He told that wind power could be one of the sources of renewable energy in Bangladesh along with hydropower and solar power. In this case, the world’s largest beach of 120 km long and the surrounding area of 280 km, wind powered power plants could be easily installed. Through this it was possible to meet the major shortage of electricity. But this requires proper wind mapping. If power plants are installed everywhere, their production will be very less. It will cost a lot.
According to sources, although PDB is not seeing success in wind power, some public and private sector companies have come up with big investment plans in this sector. Among them, two wind power plants of 60 MW in Cox’s Bazar and 55 MW in Mongla of Bagerhat are under construction. And LOI has been issued for the construction of two wind power plants of 220 MW at Chakria in Cox’s Bazar and 30 MW at Sonagazi in Feni.
Two more wind farms, each with a capacity of 50 MW, are under tender process. Two centers will be constructed at Inani and Chandpur in Cox’s Bazar respectively. And the state-owned Electric Generation Company (EGCB) of 100 MW near Parki Beach in Anwara of Chittagong and the Coal Power Generation Company (CPGCBL) of 50 MW in Matarbari have taken plans to construct two more wind power plants. Besides, Bangladesh-China Renewable Energy Company (BCRECL) has taken plans to build two wind power plants of 20 and 30 MW in Payra. However, if the capacity is not used properly, experts believe that these centers will increase the burden on the power sector.
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