12:00 AM, October 09, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2010

Power crisis likely to end in 2012

Outages start to ease in Dec; govt eyes 11,000MW power during its tenure

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Sharier Khan

A quarter of the persisting electricity crisis is likely to go by December with five new rental power projects coming into operation.
The government expects that by the end of next year, bulk of the load shedding will be averted and by the end of 2012, there will be no load shedding as dozens of new power plants will go into production by then.
This improvement will take place irrespective of an unchanged gas supply situation as most of the new plants will operate using heavy fuel oil or diesel.
According to Power Secretary AK Azad, the target would be achievable as the ministries and government agencies linked with implementation of power projects are now working together, as never before, by reducing typical bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The combined drive is visible from the fact that a British company --Aggreko-- signed two rental power deals in May for generation of 200 megawatts of power and succeeded in launching the two diesel-fired plants by August, he said.
Chairman of Power Development Board Alamgir Kabir said the government has added nearly 900 MW of power since January last year. But this was not enough to address the continuing power crisis due to gas supply shortfall and also because many existing plants have become old and inefficient.
Ninety percent of the country's power plants operate using natural gas.
Alamgir said the PDB expected that at least five petroleum- run rental power plants would add 450 MW by December.
And the figure could be higher if two more rental power projects, which missed deadlines several times, could come into operation within this period.
The rental plants will have contract terms of three to five years. These stopgap measures have been taken to address the power crisis temporarily while larger long-term power projects are implemented.
Meanwhile, the government has raised its five-year new power generation target to 11000 MW from its previously planned 9,500 MW to make sure that even if some new projects fail to be launched, load shedding is gone before the next general elections.
Coupled with the lack of new power projects for several years, gas supply crisis has deeply affected power supply. Power shortage is hovering between 600 MW to 2,000 MW this year, resulting in frequent outages.
The PDB generated around 4,600 MW of power on some occasions this year, but usually it generates around 4,000 MW. But by the end of this year, it hopes to generate at least 4500 MW on a regular basis.
On the other hand, the country's power demand ranged between 5,200 MW and 6,200 MW this year. Next year, the demand would go up by nearly 10 percent.
By December next year, the government hopes to add between 1,500 and 2,000 MW of power, which will significantly ease the crisis.
The power secretary said the crisis would be 'reasonably resolved' by 2012 as new power plants would start operation one after another.
“So far we have signed contracts for power projects having 2,500 MW production capacity. By December, we will sign deals for production of another 2,500 MW,” the PDB chairman said referring to some larger gas-based and dual-fuel power projects.
In addition to taking up dozens of conventional oil and gas- based power projects, the government is also focusing on large coal-based plants, solar and wind power projects and energy conservation.

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