Radical change in power system network in Dhaka city and beyond expected by end 2024: Chinese official
A radical change will take place in the power system of Dhaka city and its adjacent Narayanganj after the full implementation of the project titled "Expansion and Strengthening of Power System Network" which will be the main foundation of digital Dhaka city, says a senior Chinese official. "Over 70 percent work of the project has so far been completed," Director, International Market Management of TBEA's Ma told UNB. He said the whole project will be completed and delivered to Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) by the end of 2024. Banshkhali-Meghnaghat 400 kV power transmission line comes into operation Director Ma said TBEA is working under a US$1.65 billion project under which several subprojects are being implemented. The project is the largest power cooperation project between the two governments of Bangladesh and China since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The implementation of the project will enable the power grid system to be of better quality and serve the government departments and people of Bangladesh, and better promote the social and economic development of Bangladesh, said the Chinese side. Shielding capital Dhaka from loadshedding masks reality of power cuts biting nation TBEA, an international service provider of system solutions for global energy industry, dedicated to green and low-carbon development, with more than 24,000 employees from 24 countries, sees this project under the "Belt and Road Initiative" cooperation and development between China and Bangladesh.
Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) has suspended the installation of a new 240/132 kV, 450 MVA transformer at Dhaka’s Rampura Grid Substation. “As the work has been suspended, there is no scheduled power cut,” said PGCB public relations officer Badiuzzaman, adding that earlier there was a 7-day programme for installation of the transformer during which some areas in Dhaka could have experienced power disruption. Power supply situation will improve in two weeks: Nasrul Hamid He also said that this high voltage capacity transformer was to be installed replacing the existing one in order to improve the capacity of the grid substation. Budget for FY2023-24: Tk 34,819 crore allocated for power and energy sector The issue of suspension of the installation work was also confirmed by the Power Division through a press release. It said the works were suspended for unavoidable reasons. Frequent power cuts amid heat wave multiplies people’s woes The new schedule for the installation work will be informed later, it added.
The BNP will hold an hour-long sit-in programme in front of all the district offices of the Power Division across the country on June 8 to protest the ongoing loadshedding and 'corruption' in the power sector. Besides, the party will also submit a memorandum to the district power offices on the same day. BNP's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programme on Tuesday at a press conference at the party's Nayapaltan central office. Also Read: People suffer as severe load shedding continues countrywide He said the programme was worked out at a meeting of their party’s standing committee, the highest policy-making body, on Monday night. “A sit-in program will be observed from 11am to 12pm in front of the power office at the district headquarters on June 8 and a memorandum will be submitted there in protest against the unbearable loadshedding and massive corruption in the power sector,” the BNP leader said. Also Read: Imagine if electricity generation capacity were still 3000 MW like in BNP-Jamaat govt period: Nasrul Hamid He said people are going through unbearable suffering due to terrible power outages across the country. "In villages and towns, people get electricity for one or two hours in 24 hours. People are experiencing loadshedding for five-six hours during the day as well.” The BNP leader also said power is also not available in the capital for more than 3/4 hours every day. He alleged that the government looted thousands of crores of taka in the name of quick rental power projects and subsidies for the power sector. “Their (govt) fraudulence is now clearly exposed before the people through the rampant loadshedding.” Also Read; Sylhet BNP expels 43 leaders for contesting city polls “The Awami government has committed a criminal offence by creating scope for looting in the power sector. The indemnity law has been enacted to legitimize looting in the power sector. That is why those involved in these quick-rental projects should be arrested. They’re the biggest enemies of the people,” the BNP leader said. He condemned the attack at on the peaceful road march programme of Ganatantra Mancha in Bogura.
Payra Thermal Power Plant’s operations came to a complete halt at 12:05 pm today, with its second unit shutting down due to coal crisis. The shutdown of the power plant worsened an already severe load shedding situation in Dhaka city and elsewhere, according to BPDB officials. Earier, the other 660 MW unit of the power plant was closed on May 25. BPDB officials said due to the shutdown of the second unit of Payra power plant, the country’s load shedding has increased to 2675 MW at 12 pm today, which was 2287 MW on Sunday. It means the country had to experience 388 MW of added load shedding due to the closure of Payra power plant's operations, said an official of BPDB referring to the data of the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC). He said the country generated 12099 MW of electricity against a demand of 14900 at 12 pm today. NLDC’s evening forecast shows that the country’s demand will go up to 15800 MW when generation is expected to be 14,400 MW. Also Read: Coal shortage: Production at another unit of Payra power plant may suspend after June 2 However, officials said the country may experience more than 3500 MW of load shedding in the evening peak period The 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant is expected to resume operations on July 1 as the process of importing coal has already started through the opening of LC, said Shah Abdul Hasib, superintendent engineer (operation) at the plant. He said the shipment will arrive by June 25. “After the shipment of coal arrives, we will be able to resume the plant’s operation by July 1,” he said. He said opening LC takes some time due to the current global situation and dollar crisis. Payra power plant needs to import 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal every month to operate the plant in full capacity. Also Read: Operation of 1,320 MW coal-fired Payra power plant is likely to face closure over coal crisis The power plant has to spend about US$ 5-6 million every month to import the required coal. Payra power plant officials said the power plant is burning some 13,000 tonnes of coal a day. It has a 76.30-acre dumping zone where 25 years’ worth of by-products can be kept. The plant is currently importing coal from Indonesia. It has its own jetty, whose conveyor belts can unload 3,200 tonnes of coal every hour from four vessels at a time. After undergoing test runs for about five months, the first unit of the Payra power plant started commercial operation in May 2020. In October 2020, the second unit of the 660 MW plant, a joint venture of Bangladesh and China, started its commercial operation.
Operation of another unit of 1,320 MW coal-fired Payra power plant is going to be suspended soon due to coal shortage, according to Bangladesh-China Power Company (Pvt.) Limited (BCPCL) officials. The plant has two units each having 660 MW and the first unit of the two has already been shut following the coal crisis. "Now the remaining unit may run until June 2", said Shah Abdul Moula, plant manager of the BCPCL. BCPCL, a joint venture of the Chinese firm China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CMC) and Bangladeshi state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (NWPGCL), is the owner and operator of the Payra power plant. Read more: IPPs call for uniform import duty on primary fuels The plant manager said that the plant is currently operating one unit having 660 MW while another 660 MW unit was closed last week. Moula said that the overdue payment against the coal import actually created this critical situation. The overdue amount now stands at more than $400 million. "But recently we received a permission from Bangladesh Bank to pay $50 million to the coal supplier against the overdue", he said adding that this will help arrange to resume coal import. Read more: Separate entity needed to deal with matters relating to coal: Energy experts But still it will take about a month to receive the coal supply and we hope we may not get before June 28, said another official of the BCPCL. According to official sources, the Payra power plant needs to import 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal every month to operate the plant in full swing. They said the BCPCL normally opens LC through state-owned Sonali Bank to import the coal. But recently Sonali Bank regretted opening the LC due to the dollar crisis. Admitting about the problems, the BCPCL officials said the authority has already communicated the issue to the Power Division to take necessary measures. Read more: Committee to review existing deals on coal purchase for power generation Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 21 last year inaugurated the 1320 MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant at Patuakhali's Payra on a day when she also declared the country's 100 percent electricity coverage. This milestone achievement puts Bangladesh ahead of India and Pakistan among the South Asian nations to light up every house with electricity. BCPCL set up the plant using Ultra Supercritical Technology at over $2 billion as part of a development partnership on 982.77 acres of land. The Export-Import Bank of China lent $1.96 billion for the project. The company started operation in 2016. Read more: Bashundhara Group wins bid to supply 8 million MT of coal to Rampal power plant This kind of coal-fired power plant using Ultra Supercritical Technology is the thirteenth in the world and seventh in South Asia. The Ultra Supercritical Technology used for this plant aims at protecting the environment in line with the government's policy, officials said. After undergoing test runs for about five months, the first unit of the Payra power plant started commercial operation in May, 2020. In October, 2020, the second unit of the 660 MW plant, a joint venture of Bangladesh and China, started its commercial operation. The Payra and another 1320 MW Rampal power plants have been implemented targeting the power evacuation from both the two plants and transmit power to Dhaka city and adjoining areas to meet growing power demand. Read more: Illegal coal furnaces leave Khulna gasping for breath & answers The Payra power plant is burning some 13,000 tonnes of coal a day. It has a 76.30 acre dumping zone where 25 years’ worth of by-product can be kept. The plant is currently importing coal from Indonesia. It has its own jetty whose conveyor belts can unload 3,200 tonnes of coal every hour from four vessels at the same time. Bangladesh's power generation capacity reached 25,514 MW from just 3200MW in 2009, according to the data.
Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) has finally started the work to lay underground cables that will replace the high voltage overhead transmission lines in Hatirjheel area. “We’ve already laid 2.2km of 132 kilovolt (kV) underground cables, out of a total length of 3.5 km. We hope, by next year people will not see any overhead cables in Hatirjheel,” Bikash Dewan, managing director of DPDC, told UNB. He informed that the cables are being laid underground through digging the roads in southern part of the Hatirjheel area and cables reach the Mogbazar through Rampura Bridge area. The Hatirjheel Lake was artificially created in a vast area of Gulshan, Tejgaon and Rampura as part of the city's beautification and environmental protection plan. But the overhead cables were out of place with the plan. Read more: Dhaka alone experiencing over 600 MW of load shedding during daytime Removing overhead cables from Hatirjheel is a part of the DPDC’s larger plan to take all its overhead cables underground from different areas in the city’s central, west and southern parts. The DPDC undertook a “Power Distribution System Upgrading Project” to improve its network and system in its command area in Dhaka city and signed a contract with the Chinese contractor TBEA in September in 2019 to implement the China-funded Tk 20,500 crore mega project. DPDC officials said that earlier they completed the design of the project in which a total of 190 kms of overhead electricity cables will be removed and taken underground from different areas in the city. Of these, about 115 kms are of 11 kV overhead lines, and 75 kms are 0.4 kV lines, they said, adding that all kinds of overhead electric cables will go underground and no cable will remain visible in a particular part of Dhanmondi area that includes Satmasjid Road, Mirpur Road, City College and Greenherald School area. Read more: Coordination demanded in underground cabling of electricity, internet lines Under the project, 40 substations will be set up in the city and cables in Dhanmondi residential areas will be laid underground. Taking overhead cables underground from Jahangir Gate in Cantonment to Motijheel is also included in DPDC’s other similar project which was already completed. “Of the areas, implementation work of the project in Dhanmondi area is in progress,” said Bikash Dewan, addingwork will be started gradually in many more areas. DPDC officials said the equipment for the project has already arrived from abroad. Under the project in the Dhanmondi area, pole-mounted transformers are being replaced with box-type transformers. Read more: Overhead electricity cables to go underground in major cities: Nasrul Hamid Some 36 box-type transformers, 296 of 6-way ring main units (RMU), 34 of 3-way RMUs and 130 LV Cabinet will be installed to facilitate the underground cabling system, they informed. They said the project was supposed to kick off in January 2020. But the Chinese engineers who were responsible for designing the works got stuck in their hometown Wuhan following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Officials said most of the materials, equipment and system were brought to the country for the Dhanmondi pilot project. Bikash Dewan said once the project is implemented, it will play a vital role in improving the power distribution system and substantially check the unexpected interruption in power supply. Read more: DPDC blames delay in launching Dhanmondi underground cable project on DSCC, hails DNCC cooperation
Dhaka has alone been experiencing more than 600 MW of load shedding during daytime when demand for electricity remains relatively low than nighttime. According to official sources, like the previous few days the country has been seeing over 2000 MW of power shortage. As a result, consumers across the country are facing power outages for 6 to 7 hours in different spells during the day. Also Read: After record, country’s power generation again drops below 15,000 MW “After the evening, the situation will be deteriorating with the increase in demand,” said a top official of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) preferring anonymity. He attributed the gas shortage for the severe situation in power supply. “Actually, we have been getting lower supply of gas that forced us to keep at least 25 generation units across the country shut,” he said. Also Read: Load shedding in Sylhet: PDB engineer receives threat; GD filed He, however, said that if the BPDB receives normal supply of gas, it can produce 6,500 MW of electricity from its gas-fired plants. “But now we’re producing 4667 MW and about 1,833 MW of electricity is not available for gas shortage,” he noted. Meanwhile, managing director Dhaka Electric Supply Company (Desco) Md. Kausar Ameer Ali said that the area under the organization was experiencing a load shedding of 308 MW in the daytime. Read more: Gap between power generation, supply widening: Nationwide load shedding over 1500 MW “The Desco is receiving about 800 MW against a demand of 1111 MW,” he told UNB. Desco is entrusted with the responsibility to distribute electricity in Dhaka city’s north, north-west and eastern parts while Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) is responsible for power supply in the south, southeast and central part of Dhaka city. DPDC Managing director Bikash Dewan said that area under DPDC has been experiencing a shortage of about 340 MW which might be up after the evening. Also Read:Load shedding in Sylhet: PDB engineer receives threat; GD filed He said DPDC has been resorting to load shedding of more than 340 MW to manage a demand of more than 1600 MW as it has been receiving 1250 MW. However, consumers are complaining that they have to experience a huge load shedding. In some areas, people are allegedly experiencing power outages just in every alternative hour. Also Read: Load shedding amid intense heat wave makes life miserable in Khulna “Power cuts are frequent and we have been experiencing load shedding in every alternative hour,” said Abdus Selim, a resident in the city’s Niketan area. The same experience was shared by Nazim Uddin who lives in Moghbazar area. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Sunday said that it will take two days to improve the power and gas supply situation in the country. Also Read: Loadshedding becomes insufferable: Locals vandalise Palli Bidyut office in Feni He said that after the suspension of gas supply from two floating LNG terminals, one terminal left its place for safe location while another one remained stationed at its own location. The suspension caused a huge shortage in gas supply that triggered the current level of load shedding across the country. “The current disruption in power and gas supply will improve as one of the two LNG terminals will resume supply within two days,” he told reporters at his office in the ministry. Also Read: Record heat driving record power generation, even as loadshedding increases “But I hope, gas supply will resume from one terminal within two days which will improve the situation with the supply of 400 mmcfd gas,” he said, adding that it will take 10-12 days to resume gas supply from the other LNG terminal.
Power secretary Md Habibur Rahman has sought the leading global companies' collaboration with the Bangladesh power sector for its sustainable development. "Switching to hydrogen fuel for power generation in the future is one example, where global companies like GE, having tremendous experience in the field, can collaborate with us," he said while addressing a seminar titled: "Powering Smart Bangladesh" at a city hotel on Tuesday. American company GE (General Electric) hosted the seminar, which was also addressed by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Mahbubur Rahman, and chief executive officer of GE Gas Power South Asia, Deepesh Nanda. The power secretary said Bangladesh will also welcome the tested technologies in the power and energy sector to reduce carbon emissions. Also Read: Bangladesh number one place to engage 3 big powers and play a bridging role: Prof Kanti Bajpai "We're keen to invest in technologies that are already tested and can help Bangladesh to reduce carbon emissions quickly", he said He noted that the government is prioritising the introduction of policy interventions that can support the development of clean energy infrastructure in Bangladesh and contribute towards economic growth of the country by effectively meeting the power demand in the future. The central theme of the seminar was leading a new era of clean energy by focusing on GE’s advanced gas turbine technology, which is capable of burning blends of hydrogen and natural gas, to lead the energy transition in Bangladesh and decarbonise it further. It was informed in the event that GE has more than 120 gas turbines globally that are running on between 5 percent (by volume) and 100 percent hydrogen, and have accumulated more than 8.5 million operating hours. In a move to lead the global energy transition, GE announced in 2022 the spin-off of GE Vernova as a purpose-built business, that highlights the company’s commitment to sustainability and elevating its position as a key player in the energy industry that empowers climate action in all markets. BPDB chairman Mahbubur Rahman said Bangladesh is already a power surplus nation with 100 percent coverage of electricity, and now our focus is to supply reliable electricity in an uninterrupted manner. "We are deploying the latest technologies and digital solutions to make the power infrastructure more robust, and I see GE Vernova, a new company, through its comprehensive portfolio, playing a crucial role in taking this journey forward", he said. "GE Vernova can also help us in meeting the Smart Bangladesh Vision in the future,” he added. GE Gas Power South Asia CEO Deepesh Nanda said his company remains committed to leading a new era of clean energy in Bangladesh. "Today, GE’s technology is powering multiple power plants in the country and our power services are helping the power plant owners to use the fuel efficiently while generating electricity at lower cost", he said. "GE will continue to offer a comprehensive portfolio of powering solutions distinguished by our commitment to quality, productivity, cost effectiveness and safety standards.” He said as Bangladesh diversifies its energy mix, GE’s hybrid power solutions can create an ecosystem in Bangladesh to supply electricity on round-the-clock basis in future. Managing director of Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd., Sazzadur Rahman, director general of Power Cell Mohammad Hossain, Global Hydrogen Value Chain Leader, GE Power Jeffrey Goldmeer also spoke at the event.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has alleged that the government has been working against independence and it should not be allowed to come to power again in any way. “ It’s a matter of regret and shame that Awami League has taken a stance against independence now. During the Liberation War our aim and expectation was to establish a democratic society, multi-party state system which Awami League has destroyed and returning to one-party rule as following their previous technique,” he said. Now their stance is against independence, against democracy and against the people of the country, said Fakhrul at a programme at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on Thursday. Bhashani Onusari Parishad organized the event marking former minister Sunil Kumer Gupto’s 15 the death anniversary. Fakhrul came up with the remarks a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that arson terrorist BNP-Jamaat alliance, the killers, the anti-liberation forces and war criminals must not come to power again in this land (Bangladesh),” she said. The prime minister said this on Tuesday while speaking at a civic reception accorded to her at Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington. The BNP leader also criticized the government for its stance not to repeal the Digital Security Act.” When all are demanding cancellation of the law you are boasting that it would not be cancelled.” “ Why it should not be cancelled? You are using this(Digital Security Act) as an weapon which you don’t want to lose,” he added. “But you should not forget that the people of the country achieved independence though the Liberation War in 1971, they ousted the autocratic government through mass upsurge in 1990. Now the people of the country have started a movement and democracy will win through this movement,” said Fakhrul. Read more: Arson terrorists, killers must not grab power again: PM Hasina He said that they country will have no existence if the anti-liberation, anti-democracy force comes to power again. “ For this reason we have started a simultaneous movement with all the political parties who love the country. We have created hope among people across the country. With this hope, we’ll have to free the country, protect independence and restore people’s rights ,” he added. Covenor of Bhashani Onusari Parishad Sheikh Rafiqul Islam chaired the event. Though the event was supposed to be held at the Jatiya Press Club later club authorities cancelled the permission. Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar) President Mostafa Jamal Haidar, Gono Forum General Secretary Subrata Chowdhury, BNP Chairperson’s Advisor Council Member Bijon Kanti Sarkar, among others, spoke at the event.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that Bangladesh requires $170 billion dollars investment in the power and energy sector by 2041. He said while addressing a session on "Strengthening the Future of Economic Growth of Bangladesh" at the high-level discussion meeting titled "U.S.-Bangladesh Economic Partnership: Shared Vision for Smart Growth" organized by the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC on Tuesday. “There are profitable investment opportunities in different sectors and sub-sectors like LNG, renewable energy, smart grid, smart distribution, electric vehicle infrastructure, onshore and offshore hydrocarbon exploration,” said the state minister. Read More: Investment in Bangladesh will bring huge success: PM Hasina to Japanese businesses He also said that upgrading gas infrastructure, setting up petrochemical industries, reducing GHG emissions, smart gas distribution are among the sectors where US companies can invest and the government will provide special incentives to foreign investors. He said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given the vision of building a smart Bangladesh to build the golden Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “It needs financial investment as well as technical and knowledge-based cooperation to realise the vision,” he said adding that investment should come not only from multilateral development agencies, but also from the public and private sectors. Read More: Momen due to leave for US Friday with trade and investment high on agenda Eric Walker, president of Chevron's Bangladesh office and Dr. John Ardil, vice president of Exxon Mobil also addressed the event.