Nazmul Likhon
In a bid to ensure diversified use of power and energy, the government has turned to setting up six LNG-based power plants, having a capacity of 11,550 megawatts.
The power plants will be built at different parts of the country, covering a mix of geographical areas.
To this end, the government has received at least 18-project proposals. The power division and the Power Development Board are actively evaluating 11 out of the total proposals, a PDB official said.
Earlier, on July 11, US-based company General Electric (GE) signed two separate deals–one with state-owned PDB and another with local business house Summit Group–to implement a number of power and energy projects amounting to about $7.4 billion in joint venture in Bangladesh. Japanese firm Mitsubishi Corporation is also a partner in the GE-Summit initiative.

Under the deals, GE-Summit-Mitsubishi will set up a gas-fired power plant of 2,400MW, having four combined cycle units of each 600MW power plant.

The GE-Summit-Mitsubishi joint venture will invest $3 billion for their projects. Under GE-PDB deal, there will be 3,600MW gas-based combined cycle power plant and associated LNG import terminal and infrastructures in Maheshkhali of Cox’s Bazar. Implementation of the GE-Summit-Mitsubishi projects will start in 2019 and will be completed by 2023.

State-owned North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) an enterprise of Bangladesh Power Development Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Germany’s Siemens AG to build a 3,600MW LNG-based combined cycle power plant in Patuakhali’s Payra. The estimated cost of the project is $2.8 billion.

Japan-based Mitsui & Co Ltd has signed a MoU with the Coal Power Generation Company Limited (CPGCL) to establish 600MW LNG-based power plant in Matarbari.

Besides, the government has approved the construction of two LNG-based power plants, including a 600MW plant, sponsored by Summit Power, and another 750MW plant by Indian Reliance.

According to the sources, GE proposed 17,800MW plants jointly with different state-owned agencies. On the other hand, UK-based Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum proposed to install 1,000MW plants, Indian Reliance power has placed a proposal to established 1,500MW power plant at Meghnaghat, China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Company 3,200MW at Moheskhali, Chinese National Import and Export Corporation 1,800MW, Indonesian’s Partamina 1,400MW and Sembcrops of Singapore placed a proposed to install LNG plants having the capacity to produce 1,000MW-1,500MW at Matarbari.

Among the domestic proposals, United Enterprise proposed a 500MW combined cycle modular power plant at Anwara of Chattogram, Beximco 460MW, Midland Power and Shahjibazar Consortium 600MW Banshkhali, Unique Group 1,200MW and Golar Power has proposed to construct 1,500MW LNG-powered power plants.

Power Cell DG Engineer Mohammad Hossain told Bangladesh Post: “We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with different companies to build 10,000MW LNG-based combined power plants. We are trying to end the work of the power plants as soon as possible.”

“There are many more proposals from local and multinational companies. But there is no possibility of any new LNG power plant to be built at this moment”, he added.

The government has taken an initiative to import a huge quantity of LNG from next year. Both land-based and floating LNG terminals will be set up. The government has already imported 500 million cubic feet of LNG. Besides, the government will import more 500mcf of LNG with the help of private company Summit. This gas will be added to the national grid by this year.

The Awami League-led coalition government has initiated large infrastructure projects at Payra and Maheshkhali, including a port and economic zone for the development of the country, with an aim to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021 and developed one by 2041.

The government has a plan to generate 60,000MW of electricity by 2041. Of these, maximum power will be produced from coal and LNG.
Now the government is eyeing larger power plants. The work to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna is under way.

Besides, some more coal-run power plants at Maheshkhali, Payra, Bagerhat and some other gas-run power plants are being set up.
Energy experts advised to adopt these two fuel-saving solutions for sustainable use of renewable energy. At the same time, there is a bright possibility of having a large reservoir of gas in the country’s sea and land. So they have suggested emphasising gas exploration.