Zakir Mahmud Salim, Patuakhali: Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL) is operating a coal-based power plant with a capacity of 1,320 MW at Payra in Patuakhali. The company is now constructing another coal-fired power plant of similar capacity at Payara. Chinese company Norinco and state-owned Rural Power Company Limited (RPCL) are jointly building another coal-based power plant. It also has a capacity of 1,320 MW.
Northwest Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) has taken the initiative to construct an LNG-based power plant with a capacity of 1,200 MW in Payara. Feasibility study of the project has already been completed. All three power plants are expected to become productive between 2025 and 2027.
The total production capacity of grid-based electricity in the country is now about 26,000 MW. Although the maximum daily electricity consumption in the country has so far reached around 16,000 megawatts. When the construction of Payra power plants is completed, 3,840 megawatts are going to be added to the country’s total grid-based electricity production capacity.
Observers of the power and energy sector say that the power plants have to be kept running using imported fuels such as coal and LNG. There is a fear that the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will be under more financial pressure. The company is already holding a huge amount due to private power plants due to electricity bills. Due to financial crisis in energy import, several private sector coal-based power plants including Payra and Rampal had to be shut down this year. Again, the three big gas-based power plants are unable to start production due to demand and gas shortage.
Energy expert Prof. Tamim told, “It was planned to build a coal-based power plant with a total capacity of seven thousand megawatts in the country. All of these are base load based (full time on). At the end of the construction, the reserve crisis and the instability of energy prices in the world market can become a major challenge in energy supply for these power plants.
According to BCPCL sources, the work of the company’s second power plant at Payara is 21 percent complete. Exim Bank of China is financing this power plant for $2.6 billion. Along with the financial activities of the power plant, the field work is also progressing vigorously.
According to the company’s calculations, the first unit (660 MW) of the power plant is scheduled to come into production in May 2024 and the second unit in June of the same year. However, BPDB has set production targets for the first unit of the power plant in November 2024 and April 2025 for the second unit.
BCPCL Managing Director (MD) Engineer AM Khorshedul Alam told, “From the beginning, we had a plan to build two power plants of ultra super critical technology in Payara. Out of this, a capacity of 1,320 MW is in production. Another power plant of the same capacity is under construction in the second phase. Currently, the progress rate of this project is 21 percent. Apart from this, there is also a plan to build another 1,200 MW capacity LNG-based power plant subject to the increase in gas import.
Norinco and RPCL’s 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant project has progressed a long way. The project stakeholders said that its physical progress has been 80.5 percent till this month. And the financial progress has been 66.67 percent. The first unit of the power plant is expected to go into production by June next year and the second unit by October.
Talking to the officials related to the project, it is known that the ancillary works including boiler, chimney, power house of the first and second units of the power project have been completed. At present, construction of jetty for coal import vessels and coal conveyor belt and transmission tower works are under construction at the power plant.
If you want to talk about the operation of the power plant, the managing director of RPCL said. Abdus Sabur said, “According to the schedule, the work of our power plant will be completed. The first shipment of imported coal will be shipped in the first week of February. We have already started the pre-commissioning of some works of the project. The work of the transmission line built for the power plant is also 80 percent complete.
The RPCL-Norinco joint investment is costing $2.5 billion to build the power plant. 70 percent of this is financed through loans taken from Exim Bank of China. The power plant will be operated by RNPL, a joint venture between RPCL and Norinco.
NWPGCL has taken the initiative to build a large power plant with a capacity of 1,200 MW in Payara due to the possibility of increasing LNG import in the country. Feasibility study of the project has already been completed. BPDB said that the power plant will go into production by 2027.
When asked about the work and financing of the power plant of NWPGCL, a top official of the organization, on the condition of anonymity told, “Activity on this has not become so strong so far.” However, if there is an LNG terminal in Payara, the power plant of NWPGCL will be constructed there. Then a big source of fuel for the power plant will also be created.
A few large capacity coal-based power plants have come into production in the country this year. In the meantime, the 1,200 MW power plant built with Japanese funding has come into production at Matarbari in Maheshkhali. A privately built 1,320 megawatt capacity power plant in Chittagong’s Banshkhali has been connected to the national grid. The power generated at Bagerhat’s Rampal power plant is also now being supplied to the grid. Apart from this, three big gas-based power plants of Summit, Unique and Reliance Group are waiting to start production at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj.
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