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‘5,500 MW from Matarbari will bring revolutionary progress in Bangladesh’s power sector’

Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar is going to turn into a massive power generation hub in Bangladesh. Several large coal-fired, LNG-based, wind-run and solar based power plants with a combined 5,500 MW capacity will be constructed at the island under Maheshkhali upazila of the coastal district by 2030.

State-run Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL) will be building and run the power plants, for which four projects are underway currently.

Soon after the projects start operating, Bangladesh will witness a revolutionary progress in electricity generation, expects CPGCBL Managing Director Engineer Golam Kibria.

In an interview with energynewsbd.com, Kibria detailed the projects.

energynewsbd.com: The CPGCBL is working on several power plant projects. What projects are being worked on now?

Golam Kibria: Currently, we are working on four projects. In the first phase, there are 1,200 MW ultra-super critical coal-fired power plant, Kohelia 700 MW ultra-super critical coal-based power plant, 500 MW-630 MW LNG-based combined cycle power plant and 1,200 MW-1,320 MW ultra-super critical coal-fired power plant. These projects are expected to be completed by 2024 to 2026.  

Moreover, in the second phase, the rest planned to be build by 2028 to 2030, are 1,200 MW and 700 MW ultra-super critical coal-based power plants at same location. Actually, Matarbari will become a large power hub, from where a combined generation of 5,500 MW electricity is projected.

energynewsbd.com: What are the progresses of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) funded 1,200 MW power plant project ever since you joined the CPGCBL?

Golam Kibria:  I joined the company a few months ago. I am working with the aim to help add electricity to the national grid by implementing the ongoing projects on time.  Some 1,608 acres of land have already been acquired in Matarbari. Work on land development for the two-unit 1,200 MW ultra-super critical coal-fired power plant is going on in full swing. The project is being implemented with the funds of Jica, Bangladesh government and the CPGCBL. Tk 35,984 crore has been estimated to be the total project cost.

The joint consortium of Japanese Sumitomo Corporation, Toshiba Corporation and IHI Corporation had been assigned as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on July 27, 2017, which has started working from August 22 last year.

So far, the project has registered 18% financial progress and 19% physical progress. The first unit of the plant is planned to be launched in January 2024, and the second unit could be opened in July the same year. 

energynewsbd.com: What could be the price against the electricity to be produced at the plant? 

Golam Kibria: It not possible to comment about this right now since the prices will be set after taking into account all the expenditures including coal import for the plant.  While CPGCBL is a government entity, the prices will be comparatively reasonable. 

energynewsbd.com: Where the coal will be imported from and what will be the process to ship the fuel item after its offloading from vessel?

Golam Kibria: Currently, we advancing slowly regarding the import of coal since its price fluctuates in the international market. We will be in need of coal by the end of 2023, for which the source for coal import will be fixed a few days later. The EPC contractor keeping in line with the deal signed will supply the coal which will be needed while opening power plant in 2024. The EPC will perform other activities including dredging a 14.5km channel (18.5-metre deep and 250-metre broad) and construct jetty where 80,000 metric tonne capacity vessels will be able to anchor. A massive coal yard is also being built, to facilitate stockpile imported coal.

energynewsbd.com: What are the measures taken for electricity transmission from the plant to the national grid?

Golam Kibria: There will be a grid sub-station alongside the power plant, but for transmitting electricity, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited install separate 400 kV double circuit transmission lines—one from Matarbari to Madunaghat, Chittagong and the other from Madunaghat to Meghnaghat, Narayanganj. The move is aimed to help reach power supply from Matarbari to Dhaka and work in this regard has already been started.

energynewsbd.com: Enlighten us about the other projects.

Golam Kibria: The Kohelia 700 MW ultra-super critical coal-based power plant is being constructed as a joint venture engaging Singapore-based Sembcorp Utilities Pte. Ltd. Land acquisition, feasibility study and appointment of owners’ engineer have been completed. The process of EPC contractor’s appointment is underway now. The plant may go into operation by 2025.

In addition, the 500 MW-630 MW LNG-based combined cycle power plant will be installed as a joint venture with Japanese firm Mitsui & Co., Ltd. The land required for the project has been acquired. Feasibility and other relevant works are underway. The plant is expected to start operation by 2023.

Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation will construct a 1,200 MW-1,320 MW ultra-super critical coal-fired power plant as a joint venture. Land acquisition, feasibility study and other relevant works are being done for the project as it is supposed to start power generation by 2026.

energynewsbd.com: The CPGCBL embodies the term “coal”. Then again, why are you planning construction of LNG-based power plants?

Golam Kibria: It is true that the company was constituted focusing on coal-based power plant construction. But the company can still construct power plants using other fuels as mentioned in the Memorandum of Article and the Article of Association. We are not considering coal as the only fuel item. There are plans, based on the government’s instruction to fuel diversification, to construct LNG-based, wind-run and solar plants as well. 

energynewsbd.com:  Foreigners raised questions over security grounds before appointing an EPC contractor for the Matarbari power plant in the wake of Holey Artisan terror attack. What is Matarbari’s current law and order situation?

Golam Kibria: At present, foreigners are working fearlessly in the Matarbari project, where a three-tier security system is in place. The EPC contractor has developed its own security arrangement. However, it does not mean they are dissatisfied with the security we provide. They did is all just owing to their extra cautiousness. Our government is also giving highest priority to the security issue. So, there is no reason to be panicked. 

energynewsbd.com: There are numerous debates over the construction of coal-fired power plants? How environment-friendly will be your plants?   

Golam Kibria: Construction of an ultra-super critical coal-based power plant is more expensive than that of a plant with sub-critical technology. And this is why this plant has around 43% production rate compared to 36% of the sub-critical technology. Since the power plant will apply ultra-super critical technology, the use of coal will decline and the emission of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide will be of low scale. Instead, it will be easier to separate sulphur by using flue gas desulfurisation (FDG). The chimney that will used to omit exhaust gas of the power plant will be as high as 275 metres. In summation, it can be said that the power plants will be environmentally friendly.      

 

 

 

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