India's Reliance keen on 1500 MW power plant

Indian energy giant Reliance Power has shown interest to build a 1500 megawatt (MW) combined cycle power plant in Chattogram. The company sent a written proposal to the Power Division on September 17. This comes on the heels of the decision to purchase power from Meghnaghat, an official said. The Power Division official said, senior vice president and business head (gas) of Reliance, Samir Kumar Gupta, has requested senior secretary of Bangladesh the power division, Dr Ahmad Kaikaus to seal a final agreement for the power plant.Reliance Power Ltd has around 6000MW of power generation capacity in operation and 10,000MW under various stages of development.

In June 2015, Reliance signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) for setting up 3,000MW LNG-based combined cycle power plants in phases at suitable locations. Reliance says in the letter that the Combined Cycle Power Plant will be operational for 22 years. Per unit electricity price will be 2.14 cents for gas-based power plant. Petrobangla will supply the gas. But if any other fuel is used, the cost will change. A 75-acre piece of land has been selected to construct the power plant.

Reliance assured that the plant will go into production within 42 months of all deals. Reliance has asked Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) to issue Letter of Intent (LoI). Earlier on September 1, the Bangladesh government signed an agreement to buy 718 megawatts of electricity from Reliance Power over the next 22 years. A day after the deal, Reliance, sold 49 percent of the project shares to JIRA of Japan.

Reliance plans to invest about $1 billion to set up a local plant by 2022 to provide the electricity. The plant will be built at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj. The combined-cycle power plant will be fueled by gas and regasification liquefied natural gas and be fully owned by Reliance. They will supply electricity at Tk 5.84 per unit.

Currently, the country’s power generation capacity has reached 22,329 MW (with captive, renewable energy and imported power), while the maximum generation has risen to 12,893 MW (May 29, 2019). The government is working to provide power to remote shoals and islands. Where grid power is not reachable, electricity is being provided through the solar mini grid. The power generation capacity has increased more than fourfold with consumers increasing thrice in the last decade, said the official.

State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid has said, “There has been massive development in the power sector in the last one decade. Around 94 percent of the people are now under electricity coverage. Now we hope we can bring the entire country under 100 per cent electricity coverage within the next six months.”

He said, “It is essential to take initiatives on short, mid and long term basis for development. We have already attained success in short and mid-term projects in the past one decade. Now, our goal is to implement the long-term plans. The government is working toward that goal.” A Power Cell Official said, the present government is committed to turning Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021, and by 2041 aiming to transform it into a developed country. For that, Bangladesh needs to generate 24,000 MW, 40,000 MW and 60,000 MW by 2021, 2030 and 2041respectively.