Patuakhali coal-fired power plant work progresses fast

The construction work of Patuakhali 1320MW coal fired thermal power plant is going on in full swing at Dhankhali of Kalapara Upazila in Patuakhali district. Around 27 percent work of the project has already been completed.The power plant is likely to  start generation by 2023. Per unit power generation cost will be around taka 6.50.

RPCL-NORINCO Intl. Power Limited (RNPL), a joint venture of State-owned Rural Power Company Ltd. (RPCL) and China state-run NORINCO International Cooperation Ltd. with equal (50:50) Partnership is implementing the project, RNPL official said. 

A Consortium of “Tianjin Electric Power Construction Co. Ltd., China Huadian Engineering Co., Ltd and China Wanbao Engineering Corporation (TEPC-CHEC-CWEC)” will set up the power plant as a turnkey contract worth taka 1.77 billion. The Export-Import Bank of China (Lead) Syndication with Bank of China will be lender of the project. However, initially up to 30 percent of total EPC Cost will be borne by EPC Contractor from their own finance.

A MoU was signed between RPCL and NORINCO International Cooperation Ltd. to build the power plant on May 09, 2016. The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) was signed between the BPDB(Bangladesh Power Development Board) and RNPL on February, 20, 2019. 

About 915 acres of land in the project area has already been acquired and some 80 percent land development work has already been done.

While visiting the mega project on Wednesday,this reporter found that the work of the project is going on in full swing in compliance with the necessary health rules. Construction of project office and accommodation facilities including piling of goods handling jetty, access road is in progress. In order to speed up the implementation of the project, accommodation is being provided for 6,500 engineers and workers from home and abroad. Accommodation for 4,000 people has already been completed. 

Project Director. Towfique Islam said, "We hope , the first unit having a capacity of 660MW of electricity of the power plant will go into operation in February 2023 and second unit with the same capacity by August in the same year. We are moving towards that goal.”

“However, we are four months behind the schedule due to the disruption  caused by Coronavirus . We are trying to overcome the hurdle by speeding up the work. However, the cost of the project will not increase if the time is slightly enhanced due to Corona,” he continued.  

“The power plant will be built using ultra-super critical technology along with high quality coal. Ash of the coal will not have any negative impact on the environment as all the mechanism including chimney, ash pond and boiler tube will be used to control the fly ash.  A 220- meter high chimney will be used here,” he added.

The government has announced to move away from coal power plants. So ,are there any plans to 'dual fuel' plant of the project in the future? In response, he said such opportunities were not kept in the project. 

He also said “according to the 'power purchase agreement', the period of this power plant is 25 years. However, with regular maintenance, we will get electricity from here for 40-50 years.”

Mr. Islam further said that those who have suffered due to land acquisition for the project  received all kinds of incentives as per the rules of the government. Apart from this, a modern town has been built for them to live in. In addition to housing, there is a school, health center, mosque, playground, market and other facilities there. 

Official said the coal-fired thermal power plant will require about 12,000 metric tonnes of coal per day. Coal will be imported from Indonesia and Australia.

 Qi Yue, executive director of RNPL, said the power plant is one of the largest in Bangladesh. World class modern equipment will be used here. We will follow all international rules and regulations to prevent environmental damage due to the use of coal.

Md. Salim Bhuiyan, Executive Director (Engineering) of RPCL, said earlier, the people here had no other occupation except farming and fishing. This project has created a lot of jobs here. People are renting out their houses ,all kinds of commercial activities have expanded, including new shops. If the scope of our work increases, 6 to 7 thousand people will be employed here.

As part of the government's plan to increase power generation in the medium and long term, the power generating company Rural Power Company Limited (RPCL) has set a target of setting up new power plants with a total capacity of 2,730 MW by 2030, including renewable energy. Patuakhali 1320 MW power plant is one of such plants. Once constructed the power plant will be able to play a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country and uninterrupted power supply.

RNPL official said it was issued NTP (Notice to Proceed) on August, 31, 2019 in favor of the EPC contractor. Major equipment of the power plant like Boiler (Herbin), Steam Turbine (Dongfeng), and Generator (Dongfeng) are being manufactured in China, which will be delivered at site . Other Major equipment are already awarded by EPC Contractor.

“When completed, the power plant will be operated by the company for two years during the warranty period and then it will be handed over to us. Besides, they will train-up our manpower,” he added.     

In addition, the country’s first mega coal-fired Power Plant with capacity of 1320MW has started its generation in Payra at Patuakhali.  

Bangladesh has entered the Ultra Super Critical Club with the launching of the coal-fired power plant, making the country the seventh nation in Asia to build such a power plant. India has a power plant in South Asia. There are also power plants of Ultra Super Critical Technology in China, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia in Asia. Except Bangladesh and China, other countries do not use covered coal yards in Ultra Super Critical Technology based power plants.

An official said ultra-super critical technology can generate more electricity by burning less coal. This technology does not pollute the environment. Modern technology is used in pollution control.

The coal yard of the Payra Power Plant is covered. Apart from Bangladesh, only China in Asia uses such coal yards. There is no such coal yard also in Japan. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the Payra Power Plant are only 60 to 70 mg. On the other hand, the World Bank's prescribed maximum emission limit is 200 mg.

Although the generation efficiency is two percent higher than that of super critical, the cost of ultra-super critical technology is much higher. For this reason, many countries are not interested to build ultra-super critical power plants.

The construction of 1,200MW coal-fired power plant at Matarbari is expected to go into operation by 2024 while construction of the 1320 MW power plant in Bagerhat’s Rampal is underway.