Bangladesh is going to import coal for the first time for a power plant as part of its efforts to diversify the fuel mix in the electricity generation sector.
Bangladesh-China Power Company signed a deal with an Indonesian firm at a hotel in Dhaka on Sunday to import the coal from the Southeast Asian country for the 1,320-megawatt coal-fired Payra power plant in Patuakhali.
Dipak Kumar Dhali, secretary of state-run North-West Power Generation Company, and Purnomo Yusgiantoro, chairman of PT Bayan Resources Tbk, inked the deal.
A statement of the power division confirmed that this was the first agreement for coal import. Addressing the programme, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, said the plant was being constructed with technology having carbon emission control system.
He said there was no possibility of environment pollution while the power generation cost would be cheaper because of coal. Chowdhury said the plant would use the best coal so that environmental concerns were addressed in a better way.
North-West Power Generation Company and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation are jointly constructing the plant.
The plant’s first unit will start generating power in December 2019 and the second unit in June 2020.
The ultra supercritical technology-based power plant will be environmentally-friendly.
About 40 lakh tonnes of coal will be required per annum to run the plant. Oldendorff Carriers GmbH & KG of Germany has been assigned to transport the coal.
According to the contract, PT Bayan Resources will supply the coal for the first unit so that it can start power generation from December next.
The plant will use sub-bituminous coal, whose calorific value is 4700-5500 Kcal. This type of coal is chiefly abundant in Indonesia and Australia.
Rina P Soemarno, Indonesian ambassador to Bangladesh, Abul Kalam Azad, chief coordinator for SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Ahmad Kaikaus, the power secretary, were also present.
Bangladesh is looking outside for coal despite sitting on high quality of the primary fuel, as the country has not been able to decide whether it would exploit the domestic coal or not.
Coal reserves stand at 3,300 million tonnes -- equivalent to 78 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. Gas reserve, which stands at 12.11 tcf, is depleting fast and will last maximum a decade.
About 65 percent of Bangladesh’s electricity is generated from gas whereas 1.34 percent comes from coal, according to the Bangladesh Economic Review 2019.