Payra plant to be synchronised with national grid next week

The test transmission of electricity to the national grid from one of its units of Payra power plant in Patuakhali is expected to commence on January 13. However, the commercial operation from the 660 megawatts unit of the plant will start by end of February, a top official said. 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), are implementing the 1320MW Payra coal-based power plant at Dhankhali, Kalapara in Patuakhali.

The government has also allocated 998.77 acres of land to the NWPGCL for implementing the project on a turnkey basis by using eco-friendly ultra-super critical technology. Around 95 percent works of the power plant have already been completed. The Project Director Shah Abdul Maula on Sunday told Bangladesh Post that that all civil, structural work and equipment installation has been completed. Now, the equipment’s testing activities is going on for the first unit. Besides, the pre-commissioning work of second unit is underway.

“Our overall preparation is very good. We expected that the first unit will be synchronized with the national grid line on January 13 and then it will start generation as part a test operation. After successfully completing of the test run, the first unit will go into commercial operation by end of February. It is hoped that the second unit will be able to start its poer generation by June,” he added. The power plant would require around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity. BCPCL already has imported coal from Indonesia to run the power plant.

On the other hand, Bangladesh Power Generation Company has erected 400 kV power transmission line extending from Payra to Gopalganj, which has been successfully commissioned at the end of last month. The main objective of the line is to create necessary facilities to evacuate power from Payra 1320 MW Power Plant. The power plant is being built with financial support from China’s Exim Bank. The Framework Financial Agreement of USD 1.984 billion for the Power Plant between the CEXIM and BCPCL was signed on October 14, 2016.

Bangladesh had not imported large quantities of coal earlier as its major requirement was being met by the country's lone-operational Barapukuria coal mine. The mine has an annual capacity to extract around 1.0 million tons of coal. The Payra coal-fired power plant would be the first to be run on imported coal. According to the Power System Master Plan, the government plans to generate around 50 per cent of the country's overall electricity from coal. To implement the plan, the government will have to generate around 12,000 megawatts of electricity from coal by 2024, 20,000 MW by 2030, and 30,000 MW by 2041.

But the country now has only three coal-fired power plants with a total generation capacity of only 524 MW. The government has undertaken a number of coal-and LNG-based power plants across the country to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021, 40,000 MW by 2030 and 60,000 MW by 2041. Currently, the government is working on three major power generation hubs at Payra in Patuakhali, Maheshkhali and Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar. The construction of 1,200 MW 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. Meanwhile, work to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna is underway.