Barapukuria plant to resolve N-region power crisis

The government has prepared a special schedule to run the Barapukuria coal power plant to handle the power crisis in the northern region of the country. 

Due to the shortage of coal, only one of the three units of the plant will be able to run initially. The other two units will shut down throughout the year, an official said. 

Engineer Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell said in a presentation that a schedule has been drawn up to run the power plant 354 days a year. Of this, a little more electricity will be generated for 109 days during summer, irrigation and Ramadan. The remaining 245 days of generation will be reduced.

According to Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) sources, power supply has to be supplied from other areas as generation is less than the demand in the north. In doing so, low voltage occurred in Rangpur and Rajshahi areas. 

For this, it is necessary to maintain the Barapukuria power plant even though it is a single power plant for the region.

Mohammad Hossain said, "From January 12 to April 30, this 109-day power plant will generate 180 to 200 megawatts of electricity. For this, 1,950 metric tons of coal is being supplied every day. A total of 2 lakh 12 thousand 550 metric tons of coal will be required for this period. 

Currently, the coal yard has a stock of 1 lakh 22 thousand 534 metric tons. Besides, another 1 lakh 25 thousand 693 metric tons of coal will be supplied till March 31. Besides, the plant will run at a load of 160 to 180 MW from May 1 to October 31. 

Then the daily requirement of coal will be 1800 metric tons. The plant will then run from November 1 to December 31 at a load of 150 to 170 MW. Then 1,600 metric tons of coal will be needed daily.

He said the total generation capacity of Barapukuria power plant is 525 MW. Of these, two units with a total generating capacity of 125 MW and 250 MW were already in Barapukuria. Apart from this, another new unit of 275 MW has been constructed. But the first two of the three units are closed all year round. The third unit also cannot generate half the electricity on an average throughout the year.

An official of Petrobangla said, "Before the construction of the new unit at Barapukuria, we warned in a letter that if the power plant was built here, there would be no coal to run. But the BPDB built the power plant without listening to us, now it sits all year round. We have no liability here. He said that no one has a headache about why such lazy investment was made.’

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) sources said that any initiative to run on imported coal would not be fruitful at the Barapukuria plant. Bangladesh now imports coal from abroad by sea. Huge coal ships do not have navigable rivers to go from south to north. Besides, there is no railway line up to Barapukuria, moreover, coal is never transported by rail wagons in the country. As a result, if coal is not available in the region, the Barapukuria power plant will have to remain idle in the future as well.