Blackstone keen to invest in power plant

US giant Blackstone has shown its keenness to invest in Bangladesh. The world renowned investment firm has recently made a proposal to build a 600MW gas-based power plant in a joint venture with a Bangladeshi company, which may further increase to 1300MW. Besides, the company has shown interest in constructing a 100MW solar power plant in the country. To this end, it has submitted a proposal to the power division recently, an official said.

The company says that the steady growth of Bangladesh in the last decade has made it interested in making investments in the country. According to Blackstone’s proposal, the proposed power plant will be built by their newly formed company Zarou and Bangladeshi state-owned Rural Power Company Limited (RPCL). ‘Zarou, with its strong technical financial and operational expertise and experience can add significant value while developing the project by securing low cost EPC competitive debt financing and efficient operations management. We are confident that we can offer an attractive tariff which would help the country lower the cost of power generation,’ according to Blackstone proposal.

An official said the company wants to build the power plant at Mirersarai or Boalkhali in Chattogram. If the gas supply is available then it may expand the capacity of power plant to 1300MW. The company placed their expression of interest (EOI) to the ministry of power and energy at a meeting held on Jan 24. They also said that in addition to the 600MW plant, they are also interested in building a 100MW solar power plant.

Several countries including Russia, United States, Germany and Japan are interested to invest in the country’s power and energy sector for being secure and investor-friendly.The ministry concerned is considering the matter, an official said. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid had recently said, ‘Bangladesh is an investor-friendly country whose power and energy sector is expanding day by day. Our target is to generate 60,000 MW of electricity by 2041. So there is a huge opportunity for investment in the sector. Many countries regularly want to invest here.’

Earlier, the government signed an MOU with US Company GE to build a 3600 MW LNG-based power plant. On the other hand, German company Siemens has signed an MOU with the Bangladesh government to build a 3600 MW LNG-based power plant in Payra. They plan to build another power plant with similar capacity at Moheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar.
The country has witnessed an unprecedented development in the power sector in last one decade. And it has been possible due to the real-time sustainable planning and initiatives undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

In line with the ‘Vision 2021’, Power Sector’s vision has been set to ensure reliable electricity to all at an affordable price by the year 2021. Around 92 percent people are now under electricity coverage. Government has undertaken 13 mega projects in cooperation with India, Japan, China, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore to set up coal-based power plants. Eight mega coal-based power plant projects have been taken up in Payra, Rampal, Matarbari and Moheshkhali with a total 9,960 MW generation capacity.

It is expected that the first mega project at Payra in Patuakhali of 1300MW will come into operation this year. The construction of 1,200MW coal-fired power plant at Matarbari is expected to go into operation by 2023. On the other hand, work is going on to set up a 1320 MW power plant at Rampal in Bagerhat. Besides, Rooppur Nuclear Power plant with two units, with the total capacity of 2,400 MW is under construction at Rooppur of Pabna. The construction work is going on fast. It would produce and be added to the national grid by 2023-2024.