The first 660-megawatt (MW) unit of Payra thermal power plant in Patuakhali district is expected to start electricity generation by the end of this year. At present, the pre-commissioning activities of all equipment that have been installed for this unit are going on, an official said. According to official sources, overall around 75 percent works of the country’s first mega 1320-MW thermal power plant project involving US$ 1.98 billion have been completed by now and if works go on without any disruption the second 660-MW unit will go into operation by June 2020.
Project Director Shah Abdul Maula told Bangladesh Post that all civil, structural work and equipment installation has been done for the first unit and that now its pre-commissioning activities are going on before final commissioning. The installation work for the second unit is also going on fast, he added. “Currently we have no 132KV line. If we had one, it would have been better,” Abdul Maula continued, “however, we are now working for pre-commissioning activities with small range using by 33KV electric line. If PGCB (Power Grid Company of Bangladesh) provides us with 132KV line by June, we could complete the pre-commissioning works very smoothly and rapidly.”
Shah Abdul Maula further said, “Our overall preparation is very good. If PGCB provided us with 400KV electric transmission line by August, then we hope we will be able to start supplying electricity to the national grid by November this year.” 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 project. The power plant is being built with financial support from China’s Exim Bank.
According to NWPGCL, all major equipment for the second unit have reached the project site and its super structure work is going on. The construction work for coal jetty, coal unloader and civil construction work has already been done. Besides, the construction works of power block area, balance of plant (BOP) and water intake are going on. An open tender was floated for the appointment of O&M (Operation and Maintenance) contractor in last February.
Official said the coal to run the power plant will be imported in July this year. The power plant would require around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity. BCPCL would import around 4.0 million tonnes of coal from Indonesia annually to run the facility. 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.
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 tonnes 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.