Another 1,320mw coal-fired power plant coming

State-owned Rural Power Company Limited (RPCL) and NORINCO International Power Limited have started constructing a 1320 MW coal-fired power plant at Kalapara in Patuakhali. 

Around 80 percent land development work of the project has already been done. The power plant will start its generation by 2023, a top official of RPCL said.

Md. Salim Bhuiyan, Executive Director (Engineering) of RPCL, told The Bangladesh Post that the main work for unit-1 with a capacity of 660MW was scheduled to be completed by February, 2022 and second unit with the same capacity by August in the same year. However, it will be delayed by at least 8 months for Coronavirus crisis. The design and drawing work of the project has already been done. The pilling work was scheduled to begin earlier. But the Chinese contractors cannot come to Bangladesh due to Covid-19. The EPC contractor of the power plant has already requested the concerned to delay the implementation of the project. 

“About 915 acres of lands in the project area have already been acquired. Currently, land development, construction work of temporary jetty and labor shade is going on. The soil has to be filled in by 5 meters there. Some 80 percent of land development work has already been finished. Our target is to complete the land development work within December. There were 81 families who used to live in the project area. We are now working for the rehabilitation of those people. We expect that it will be finished between next December and January, “he continued.  

Mr. Salim also said a Chinese firm will set up the power plant as a turnkey contract worth $1.5 billion. It was issued NTP (Notice to Proceed) on August, 31, 2019 in favor of the EPC contractor. If completed, the power plant will be operated by the company for two years during the warranty period and then it will be handed over to us. Besides,  they will train-up our manpower.    

Official sources said it has kept 25 acres of land reserved for housing of the affected people for rehabilitation. Around 310 affected local dwellers will get a five-room house each. Besides, the project area will have community center with cyclone center, mosque, school, market, health center and sports field along with wide roads, now under construction.  

The power plant will be built using ultra critical technology. Ash of the coal will not have any negative impact on the environment as all the mechanism including chimni, ash pond and boiler tube will be used to control the fly ash. Coal will be imported from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa for the power project.

In addition, the country’s first mega coal-fired Power Plant with capacity of 1320MW has started its generation in Payra at Patuakhali.  

Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd (BCPCL), a joint venture of Bangladesh’s North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL), and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), constructed the power plant with two units at Dhankhali, Kalapara in Patuakhali with financial support from China’s Exim Bank. 

Bangladesh has entered the Ultra Super Critical Club with the launching of the coal-fired power plant, making the country the 7th nation in Asia to build such a power plant. India has a power plant in South Asia. There are also power plants of Ultra Super Critical Technology in China, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia in Asia. Except Bangladesh and China, other countries do not use covered coal yards in Ultra Super Critical Technology based power plants.

An official of NWPGCL said ultra-super critical technology can generate more electricity by burning less coal. This technology does not pollute the environment. Modern technology is used in pollution control.

He added that the coal yard of the Payra Power Plant is covered. Apart from Bangladesh, only China in Asia uses such coal yards. There is no such coal yard also in Japan. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the Payra Power Plant are only 60 to 70 mg. On the other hand, the World Bank's prescribed maximum emission limit is 200 mg.

Although the generation efficiency is two percent higher than that of super critical, the cost of ultra-super critical technology is much higher. For this reason, many countries are not interested to build ultra-super critical power plants.

Currently, the government is also working on three major power generation hubs at Payra in Patuakhali, and Maheshkhali and Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar.

The construction of 1,200MW coal-fired power plant at Matarbari is expected to go into operation by 2024 while construction of the 1320 MW power plant in Bagerhat’s Rampal is underway. 

Meanwhile, the work to build the country’s first-ever nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna is also underway.