The first shipment of coal for the under construction 1320MW coal power plant in Rampal of Bagerhat, has arrived from Indonesia, paving the way for electricity generation from October, official said.
Anwarul Azim, Deputy General Manager of Rampal Power Plant said that Bangladesh flag-carrier 'MV Akij Heritage' docked at Chattogram port on July 31, carrying 54,650 metric tonnes (MT) of coal imported from Indonesia.
Commercial production at the coal-fired Rampal power plant, 14km from the Sundarbans, is likely to start in October following a trial run in August and September, as 18,650 tons of coal reached the station from Indonesia on Thursday. Another 36,000 tons of coal has reached Mongla Port on Friday evening.
“From now on, coal will be supplied to the plant on a regular basis as it will be operated experimentally from August to September. After that, Rampal Power Plant will go into official power production from October,” said DGM Anwarul.
Md Khanadakar Riazul Haque, Manager of Toggy Shipping that owns 'MV Akij Heritage', said, “The ship sailed from Indonesia's Tanjung port on July 20 and after unloading 18,650 MT of coal at Chattogram port, it headed for Mongla port with the remaining 36,000 MT, which reached the Harbouria-11 buoy of Mongla Port by Friday evening.”
India’s state-owned Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) is responsible for building the plant’s core infrastructure, Rampal Power Plant authorities said.
Work on the project began in 2010 with the acquisition of land, and official construction began in 2012.
Built at an estimated cost of Tk 16,000 crore, the plant will daily generate a total of 1,320 MW of electricity from two units (660 megawatts each).
In 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the implementation of the Rampal Power Plant Project.
According to the MoU, Rampal was supposed to begin production in 2018. However, the deadline was extended several times for various reasons, including the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bangladesh government has recently cancelled 10 planned coal-based power plants after taking their environmental impact into consideration.
The power plants were part of the 2010-2011 electricity masterplan but were not implemented in time. There was a discussion about scrapping the projects at the time.
Since 2008, Bangladesh had approved the construction of 18 coal-based power plants, including the 10 scrapped now.