August 26, 2020 Read More →

Bangladesh power ministry seeking authority to cancel 13,000MW of proposed coal-fired capacity

The Business Standard:

In a bid to move away from dirty energy, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources is seeking the prime minister’s approval to convert 13 large coal power projects into clean liquefied natural gas (LNG) based plants.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister’s Office earlier this month, the Power Division said these 13 coal-based projects either made little progress or could not secure financing, a well-placed source said. Besides, coal power has become costlier in recent years than clean power.

These ongoing projects have a total capacity of 13,000 megawatts – which is more than the country’s current power consumption. As such, the ministry suggested keeping only the projects that are already under construction, and five ongoing coal power projects having 5,371MW of capacity fit the criteria.

The 13 other projects in question have acquired land, and they could be renegotiated into LNG based power projects, Power Division officials told The Business Standard.

State Minister for Energy and Power Nasrul Hamid, who announced the policy direction to shift from coal, recently revealed that financing issues and slow progress are the main reasons behind the re-thinking on the projects. “As most of the sponsored companies failed to get financing, we have decided to rethink the projects. However, further discussion will be taken with the directive of the prime minister,” he had said.

While coal power is difficult to finance, LNG attracts financiers easily now-a-days because of its declining price and clean reputation. Currently, the government is importing 1000 mmcf (million cubic feet) LNG per day through two floating storage units. However, it plans to increase the import capacity to 2,000 mmcf gas per day by 2030. 

Meanwhile, a total of five LNG-based projects with a capacity of 8,750 megawatts of electricity are in the pipeline. Payra 3,600 megawatts and Moheskhali 3,600MW combined cycle power projects are the two of these plants which will be implemented by Siemens and General Electric (GE) respectively. Summit Power also joined hands with GE to set up another big LNG based power plant in Meghnaghat.

[Eyamin Sajid]

More: Bangladesh plans to abandon coal, go for LNG

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