PM to open Payra Power Plant soon


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate Payra Power Plant soon as the 1320MW coal-fired thermal power plant is conducting test run on completion of the construction of its first unit, officials said. The exact date of inauguration will be fixed after the PM gives an appointment, said an official at North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL), local partner of the Bangladesh-China joint venture.

The Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd (BCPCL), a joint venture of NWPGCL and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), is implementing the mega-project at Dhankhali of Kalapara in Patuakhali. Construction started on Mar 30, 2016. Around 97 percent works of the plant have already been completed.

Test run of the first unit began when it was synchronised with the national grid at 11am on January 13.  “After successful test run, the first unit with a capacity of 660MW will go into commercial operation by end of March,” a top official told Bangladesh Post. The second unit is likely to open by June, he added.

The government also allocated 998.77 acres of land to the NWPGCL to implement the power plant project on a turnkey basis by using eco-friendly ultra-super critical technology.  The power plant will require around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity. The BCPCL already has imported coal from Indonesia to run the plant.

Besides, Bangladesh Power Generation Company has erected 400KV power transmission line from Payra to Gopalganj, which was successfully commissioned by late February. On October 14, 2016, the China’s Exim Bank and the BCPCL signed the Framework Financial Agreement of $1.98 billion to build the power plant.

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, which has an annual capacity of extracting around 1 million tonne of coal.  The Payra 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 percent of the country's overall electricity from coal. To implement the plan, the government will have to generate around 12,000MW of electricity from coal by 2024, 20,000MW by 2030, and 30,000MW by 2041.

Currently, Bangladesh has three coal-fired power plants with a total generation capacity of 524MW. The government is also working on three major power generation hubs at Payra in Patuakhali, and Maheshkhali and Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar.

The construction of 1,200MW coal-fired power plant at Matarbari is expected to go into operation by 2023 while construction of the 1320 MW power plant in Bagerhat’s Rampal is underway. Besides, the government has moved to build the first-ever nuclear power plant in the northern district of Pabna amid the growing demand of electricity with the Russian atomic state agency, Rosatom implementing the project.