Adani Godda Power Plant: Bangladesh likely to get 750MW by March

Says Nasrul Hamid during visit to the plant in India’s Jharkhand
File photo

Bangladesh will start getting electricity from India's Adani Godda Power Plant in March, said Nasrul Hamid, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources.

According to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed between Bangladesh Power Development Board and Adani Power (Jharkhand) Ltd on the import of 1,600MW electricity, the first unit of the power plant was supposed to be in operation on January 5 last year.

But commercial operations of the plant were delayed and the date for starting commercial operations was moved to December 16.

Visiting the under-construction power plant in Godda district of India's Jharkhand, Nasrul said the first unit was producing around 250MW during a test run yesterday. "By mid-March, we will hopefully get around 750MW from the power plant."

Anil Sardana, the managing director of Adani Power, said he wanted to start supplying power on March 26, the Independence Day of Bangladesh.

Adani Group constructed a 106km dedicated transmission line from Godda to Chapainawabganj's Rohanpur, connecting the plant to the national grid of Bangladesh.

"Due to the dedicated transmission line, the power price may slightly increase," said Nasrul, adding that the coal for the plant would be imported at the international rate, which will also affect the power price.

"Now, coal is more expensive than it was when we signed the PPA [on November 5, 2017]..."

At the current exchange rate, the cost of a unit (kWh) of electricity would be Tk 17, said the state minister.

Production costs at the power plants in Godda and in Payra will be similar, he added.

The rate is Tk 4 higher than that predicted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November and Tk 2 higher than the forecast of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in December.

The IEEFA projection was two and a half times higher than the rate at which the Bangladesh Power Development Board sells electricity.

The IEEFA said the original plan for Godda was to use the coal mined in Jharkhand, but the plan was changed later to use Adani's Carmichael coal from Australia. The imported coal will be shipped 700km by train from Udisha's Dhamra port.

"The full transport cost will be borne by Bangladesh," the IEEFA report said.

Adani Power MD Anil Sardana told reporters that due to the Indian government's policy of not exporting electricity generated by local coal, they would need to import coal from Australia, Indonesia and South Africa.

"Pricing is comparable to any other plant built at this stage," he said, adding that coal prices had gone up in recent times and so the power tariff would also be high.

In the future, coal prices will come down and so would the power tariffs, he said.

During the test run in the presence of thousands of workers, a lot of ash was coming out of the chimneys and landing on people. The state minister's black coat turned white.

The Adani Power MD said this was happening because the power plant was producing 250MW -- a fraction of its total capacity -- and the ultra-super critical system was designed to operate at a minimum of 55-60 percent of the plant's capacity.

The ultra-super critical system was being used for the first time in India by maintaining all standards of the World Bank and Indian standards, he claimed.

State Minister Nasrul Hamid said, "With the dedicated transmission line, we want to build a large-scale power connectivity with Nepal, Bhutan and Assam. And we are talking with Adani for a solar project, which would also be transmitted through the line."