1,500MW more power by July
While the implementation of dozens of power projects has slowed down in the last one year, the authorities are expecting to add as much as 1,500 megawatt power to the national grid within three months beginning from late April.
This will come from six power plants -- Meghnaghat Summit 335MW, Bibiyana Summit 341MW (partial operation), Ashuganj Hyundai 224MW, Ashuganj Modular 195MW United, Ashuganj Inelectra 450MW, and Kodda 150MW dual-fuel.
Another 225MW gas-fired plant in Bhola island, which is cut off from the national grid, is almost ready and is waiting for completion of a transmission line to begin operation.
However, many other projects made no headway over the years. These include large coal-fired private power projects and some major gas-fired ones.
Of these large coal-fired plants, local Orion and its partners were awarded five projects in Khulna, Mawa, Dhaka and Chittagong, with a total capacity of 2300MW.
Orion either partly or fully developed project sites in these locations, but later it sought to change the locations of its Mawa and Dhaka plants to Maheshkhali, Cox's Bazar. This means that the projects would be facing long delays.
According to power ministry sources, Orion must have awarded an engineering procurement contract for Khulna 565MW power plant by March, but it didn't do so. As the firm was very slow on its Chittagong 282MW coal power project, it should be served a notice for scrapping the contract.
Two coal-fired projects (total capacity of 1,200MW) by S Alam and HTG groups in Chittagong have also made a similar dismal progress. Due to its slow implementation, the firm might be served a notice for termination of contract, said the sources.
Besides, some other projects like Ghorashal CMC (365MW), Chapainawabganj (100MW), Ghorashal 3 Repowering, Bibiyana phase- 3 and Shikalbaha (225MW) have made almost no progress.
After assuming office in 2009, the Awami League-led grand alliance government had rolled out plans to make load shedding a thing of the past within a few years. It envisioned that the country's power generation capacity would exceed 18,000MW by 2017 from the present 10,000MW (actual generation is 7,200MW). To achieve the target, the government went for all kinds of power plants using petroleum fuel, gas, coal and renewable energy.
Local power company Summit is expected to go for full operation of its 335MW Meghnaghat combined cycle power project by the end of this month, about eight months behind schedule. This will be the country's biggest power plant built by a local company.
The dual-fuel plant can run on costly diesel and cheap natural gas. It has been generating 220MW power since November 2013 using diesel in its “simple cycle operation” as the authorities could not ensure gas supplies back then.
Summit later installed the combined cycle component of the plant. In this system, the heat generated by its simple cycle operation is used to generate additional power, making the overall power generation cost effective.
“We are now ready to run the plant in its full capacity; we are just waiting for the gas connection,” said Summit chief Muhammad Aziz Khan. The last-minute preparations are on, he added.
A top official of Titas gas company said they would supply around 50 million cubic feet gas to the plant. Titas was ready to supply the gas, but Summit was yet to complete setting up a metering station, he mentioned.
The gas was supposed to be available at the plant in late March.
Summit is also expected to begin partial operation of its Bibiyana phase 2 (341MW combined cycle plant) from late April, three months behind the schedule.