PDB rolls out 2 pvt coal power projects

The Power Development Board yesterday held a pre-bid conference with around eight companies over two private coal-fired power projects to be undertaken in Chittagong and Munshiganj.

This is the first PDB venture for such private power projects in which the winning contractors will not only invest for the 150 to 300 megawatt power plants but also arrange coal supply and transport, and acquire project sites with government help.

A top PDB official said the two projects are in addition to a 1,320 MW coal-fired project to be undertaken through a private-public project (PPP) arrangement between the PDB and a successful private bidder, and also another 1,320 MW coal-fired power project to be undertaken through a joint venture between India and Bangladesh.

The Chittagong PPP coal-fired power scheme is however facing uncertainty over its site selection. The PDB had initiated acquisition of 1,200 acres of land in Anwara which is now being resisted by some powerful land grabbers. “The land grabbers are spending money on instigating people to resist this project saying that it will destroy the ecology,” said a PDB official.

At yesterday’s meeting, the PDB asked the interested companies to submit their bid qualification documents. The bidders will submit documents next month, and the PDB will evaluate which companies are suitable for the two projects, and ask for their project proposals. Then the projects will be awarded to the bidders offering the best and lowest price for power generation.

“If all goes well, PDB will give the successful bidders three years time from contract signing to complete the projects,” said a top official of PDB.

Meanwhile, the PDB is running behind the schedule of the India-Bangladesh joint venture coal-based power project. It had previously targeted signing within late September a joint venture agreement with Indian Thermal Power Company (NTPC). But as both the parties spent a few extra weeks over the draft, it has not yet been signed.

“We are hoping to sign the joint venture agreement within this month. India has done its part and we have also finished reviewing the draft,” said the official.

The joint venture deal will be the result of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the PDB, and the NTPC on August 31 in Delhi.

The two countries aim at jointly floating a tender and completing the tender process within a year to build the 1,320 MW power plant at an investment of around $ 1.5 billion on an 1,800-acre site close to Chalna. The site is being acquired now.

The draft agreement outlines equal equity between the two countries in setting up the Khulna coal-based power plant, equal representation of both countries in the board of directors and the modalities of financing the project, among other issues. The chairman and the managing directors’ position will be periodically rotated between the two nations to maintain equality.

India will play the lead role in arranging the finances.

Coal power is considered one of the cheapest power in the world, although it is also the worst polluter in power generation. This is why Bangladesh intends to build the plant using super-critical technology to keep the level of pollution as low as the current global technology allows.

Sharier Khan

Sharier Khan

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