Payra power plant goes into operation

The first unit of country’s first mega project Payra 1320MW coal power plant has started its operation on a test basis, which was synchronized with the national grid at 11:00am on Monday, top official said. 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 1320MW Payra coal-based power plant with two units at Dhankhali, Kalapara in Patuakhali.

Construction of the plant started on March 30, 2016. Around 95 percent work of the power plant has already been completed.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Monday said that “The country’s largest power plant Payra thermal power plant has started test generation from today. The power plant has supplied 100MW of electricity to national grid, which will be increased in phases.”

NWPGCL official said the thermal plant will be inaugurated after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returns from the United Arab Emirates. She has already been informed about power generation. The Project Director Shah Abdul Mowla told Bangladesh Post, “The power generation will be slowly increased and it will be supplied to the national grid every day for a certain time. After successfully completing the test run, the first unit will go into commercial operation by end of February. It is hoped that the second unit will be able to start its power generation by June.”

 “All civil, structural work and equipment installation of the two units has been completed. Now, the equipment’s testing activities is going on for the first unit. Besides, the pre-commissioning work of second unit is underway,” he added. 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 technology.

The power plant would require around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity. BCPCL already has imported coal from Indonesia to run the power plant. On the other hand, Bangladesh Power Generation Company has erected 400KV power transmission line extending from Payra to Gopalganj, which has been successfully commissioned at the end of last month. The main objective of the line is to create necessary facilities to distribute power from Payra 1320MW Power Plant.

The power plant is being built with financial support from China’s Exim Bank. The Framework Financial Agreement of USD 1.984 billion for the Power Plant between the CEXIM and BCPCL was signed on October 14, 2016. 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 tons 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 12,000MW of electricity from coal by 2024, 20,000MW by 2030, and 30,000MW 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 24,000MW electricity by 2021, 40,000 MW by2030 and 60,000MW 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 1,200MW 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 1320MW power plant at Rampal in Bagerhat. Meanwhile, work to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna is underway.