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Govt moving on ‘Uber’ model for rental power plant

Published : 28 Sep 2021 10:35 PM | Updated : 29 Sep 2021 02:57 PM

Prime Minister’s energy advisor Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said, "We are moving towards a system like the 'Uber' model to run rental power plants in the future. It means no power, no payment. 

The energy advisor to PM made the remarks while addressing a virtual discussion titled, ‘Rental-Quick Rental Power Plants: Past, Present and Future,’ organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) on Tuesday.

The concept of rental power plant was introduced during the emergency, the energy adviser said. “Now we are a little better off from that emergency. Currently our electricity demand is 12 to 13 thousand megawatts per day, which is expected to reach around 15,000MW next year.”

Tawfiq-e-Elahi said, “We have a lot of industrial areas and they are gradually increasing. We cannot take the risk of asking investors to wait for electricity generation. It would be quite unfair. However, keeping such quick rental power plants are ideal to cover in any emergency.”

He said “We need to focus on different types of fuel. Now is our critical time. Gas prices are rising in the international market. Oil should be used in case of gas crisis. For this reason we cannot depend on just one fuel.”

Defending the quick rental’s continuous operation, Tawfiq Elahi said that these plants sometimes become essential because of the volatility in the global fuel market.

“We’ve to switch from one fuel to another for power generation due to this volatility. Now the price of fuel is rising in the global market,” he said, adding that the per unit LNG is being imported now at $28-29 which was between $7-8 a few months back.      

Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Director (Research) Dr Khandoker Golam Moazzem said the country now has to pay huge money to the owners of the private plant operators due to wrong planning in power generation which results in huge surplus generation.  

Defending the existence of generating surplus power, BPDB chairman Belayet Hossain said that Bangladesh power system needs at least 40 percent surplus generation.

Currently, BPDB generates 14,000 MW power against its total generation capacity of 24,000 MW which is very much justified to keep the system running.    

Bangladesh Independent Power Producer Association (BIPPA) president Imran Karim said “The country now can utilize a maximum 82 percent of its capacity to generate electricity while 18 percent capacity remained unused.”

Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell, said “Now the reserve margin is only 22 percent and there is no surplus electricity in the country. Now the rental power plants that are running, it is needed. Because, we can’t run a lot of power plants due to gas crisis.”

Among others BPDB Member (Company Affairs) Mahbubur Rahman, BIPPA Vice-Chairman Navidul Haque were also spoke at the event presided over FERB Chairman Arun Karmakar. 

Mostafa Kamal Mujeri, former Director General of BIDS made a presentation on the topic while FERB Executive Director Shamim Jahangir conducted the webinar.

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