Giant coal power project approved

Ecnec approves Tk35,984cr to set up coal-based 1,200MW plant at Matarbari

The government yesterday approved the country’s first and largest coal-fired power project at a cost of Tk35,984.46 crore to boost electricity generation, which is currently far short of meeting the demand annually growing at an average rate of 10%.
The project titled Matarbari 2×600 MW Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Plant is the biggest in the history of the country’s power sector – bigger than any other development projects of the country, including the Padma bridge.
It would be Bangladesh’s first plant to use sea surface water for cooling and steam generation.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project at a meeting at the NEC conference room in the city with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Bangladesh has long been suffering from power shortage, forcing the government to go for expensive fuel oil-based contingency plans to urgently meet the fast growing demand.
At the same time, the government has undertaken a massive plan to set up high-capacity imported coal-based power plants to meet the demand through providing less expensive electricity.
The Matarbari project is one of the projects undertaken by the government.
The government has a plan to generate around 20,000MW of coal-fired electricity by 2030 to meet the demand. As of now, plans have already been taken to generate around 15,000MW of coal-fired electricity, according to Power Cell sources.
At present, the country’s daily average production is around 7,000MW against a demand for around 7,500MW.   
The Matarbari plant will be an Ultra Super Critical Technology, 42% more efficiency  than the average 34% of other coal-based plants in Bangladesh.
The plant will have the highest thermal efficiency in the world with 41.3% compared to 35% in the USA, 29% in India, the UK and Germany, 38% in France and 40% in Japan.
“There will be two plants each having a generation capacity of 600MW. The entire project is scheduled to complete by June 2023,” Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters after yesterday’s meeting. He expected the first one to complete by 2018.
He said the plant would be the country’s largest development project, even bigger than the Padma bridge project.
Due to the use of higher work efficiency technology, the plants will witness less coal consumption. As a result, Mustafa Kamal said, there would be emission of less carbon dioxide.
The minister assured that the government would show zero tolerance about environment pollution during the implementation of the project as it was cost-efficient while incorporating best technology.
He said the Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL) will provide Tk4,926 crore from its own fund for the project while Tk28,939 crore will come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Two more power plants will be set up at the project site in future along with an LNG terminal while Moheshkhali would be turned into a complete township, said the minister.
The CPGCBL under the Power Division will implement the project at Matarbari and Dhalghata union of Moheshkhali upazila in Cox’s Bazar.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would request her Japanese counterpart during his visit to Bangladesh next month to facilitate completion of the first unit of the plant by 2018, a senior official quoted the PM saying at the meeting.
Ecnec approves four more projects
Ecnec yesterday approved a total of five development projects, including the Matarbari project, with a total outlay of Tk37,339.83 crore.
Of the total cost, the government will provide Tk5,685.33 crore from the exchequer, Tk2,118.77 crore will come from the organisation’s own fund and Tk29,535.73 crore as project assistance.
The other projects approved are Flood Management and Livelihood Development of Haor Region at a cost of Tk880 crore, establishment of Jessore Software Technology Park at Tk240.74 crore, cluster village (Climate Victims Rehabilitation Project, revised for third time) at Tk187.29 crore and self-employment generation and poverty alleviation through expansion of BITAC activities at Tk47.33 crore.