Dollar crisis casts shadow over Rampal plant’s operation
The 1320 MW Rampal power plant has resumed partial production, but officials still worry about its uninterrupted operation due to dollar crisis that may again disrupt the import of coal, the plant's main fuel.
The Unit-1 of the coal-fired plant resumed production yesterday after a month-long shutdown caused by shortage of coal.
The plant is still under a test run that started in August before discontinuing last month.
Officials of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL), which has been engaged in implementing the power plant project, expressed their concerns.
During a briefing session today, Subhash Chandra Pandey, BIFPCL project director for the Rampal plant, said there is no substitute to coal import if the plant is to be kept operational.
"The coal used in the plant is of a high standard and not available in the subcontinent," he told a group of energy reporters who visited the plant.
According to official sources, unit-1 having 660MW capacity was forced to shut down on January 14 due to shortage of coal supply. The authorities of the power plant were unable to open any letter of credit (LC) to import coal due to the dollar crisis.
After a lot of persuasion at the government's policy level, LC opening was allowed for importing coal and the supplier sent a consignment of 30,000 tonnes.
BIFPCL officials said the supply of foreign exchange required for import of coal for the plant is not under their control.
Another consignment of 50,000 tonnes of coal is going to arrive in the country soon, Subhash Chandra Pandey said.
With the current stock of coal, the plant can run till April this year, said the project director adding that the unit-1 needs about 4500 tonnes of coal per day for operation in full capacity.
"The unit -2 is expected to come into operation in June this year and at that time it will require about 9,000 MT of coal per day", the official of the project said.