100MW wind power by 2021

During recent years, the government is focusing on environment-friendly power generation. Besides constructing fuel-based mega power plants, the government has already adopted a number of solar-based power generation projects.

Prioritising the government’s stress on environment-friendly power generation, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has now initiated to set up wind-based power plants.

According to sources concerned, BPDB is now going to set up two wind power plants with total capacity of 100MW through independent power producer (IPP) in Cox’s Bazar’s Inani beach and Khulna’s Mongla.

It is expected that the two power plants will start operation within two or three years, officials said.

Bangladesh's southern coastal belt offers potential for generating power through wind, according to a published study by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, raising hopes to meet the government's renewable energy goals.

Power Division officials said, initially the government wants to set up three wind power plants each having 50MW capacity with total contribution of 150MW.  The locations of the three wind power plants have been selected in Chandpur, Inani Beach of Cox's Bazar and Khulna, on the basis of wind mapping. 

BPDB had floated a tender from private sponsors to set up the wind power plants on build-own-operate basis in the next two to three years. Lone Chinese bidder, Envision Energy, is technically qualified for the two sites –Inani and Mongla. However Kachua upazila in Chandpur district received no bid for the project.

Officials hope if the company is found to be financially responsive, the government may award the contract to develop the project on build-own-operate basis under which the company will generate power and the government will purchase electricity from them for a term of 20 years at a certain tariff.

As per the study, the tariff of each kilowatt hour of electricity might be Tk 8-9.

Earlier, the government awarded a contract to an Indian consortium to set up a 30-MW wind power plant in Sonagazi, Feni.

Producing wind power requires no fuel, and hence, no harmful gas is produced. Wind turns the turbines, which, in turn, drives the generator, said the officials.

Until now, only three wind turbines with 3MW of capacity have been in operation for the last couple of years in Feni and coastal Kutubdia.

Power Division said the government conducted the wind mapping exercise with the financial support of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The study, carried out on behalf of the power division, found that coastal areas of Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram divisions have more than 6 metres per second (ms) wind speed at 120-metre height, sufficient for generating electricity from wind turbines.

For wind speeds of 5.75-7.75 ms, there are more than 20,000 square kilometres of land with a gross wind potential of more than 30,000MW, said the report styled “Assessing the Wind Energy Potential in Bangladesh”.

Data were collected from nine meteorological sites representing all geographical regions of Bangladesh from June 2014 to December 2017, according to the report.

The results of the wind resource assessment will help Bangladesh overcome the significant energy challenges, the report said citing the country's power shortage against the backdrop of increasing demand and dwindling natural gas reserves.

Data obtained for the study will support informed decision making, ranging from policy and investment decisions to reliable power sector planning.