The government has entered a deal with Orion Group to install three private coal-based power plants to add 1088MW power to the national grid.
Although there is a government-run coal-based power plant producing 250MW power at Barapukuria, this is the first move to get private firms to produce power from coal.
On Jan 29, the government struck a deal with India for installing a coal-based power plant with a capacity to produce 1030MW at Rampal in Bagherhat near the Sundarbans.
One of the new power plants will be set up at Mawa in Munsiganj to produce 522MW. Two other plants will be established at Anwara in Chittagong and in Khulna each with a capacity of generating 282.67MW.
Orion Group Managing Director Salman Obaidul Karim and Power Development Board (PDB) Secretary Md Azizul Islam signed the agreement at the Bidyut Bhaban.
The power plant at Mawa will go into operation in 45 months while the plants at Khulna and Chittagong will be built in 36 months.
The government will pay Tk 4.79 for per unit power produced by the Mawa plant and Tk 4.45 for power supplied from the other two plants.
Currently daily power production is 5,500MW against the demand of 7,000MW.
The Prime Minister’s Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power Mohammad Enamul Hoque, Power Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, PDB Chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir and Orion Group Chairman Obaidul Karim were present at the ceremony.
“Many had feared whether it would be possible at all to establish power plant by importing coal. After overcoming all the challenges we are going to prove that through this agreement. I hope the plants will come into operation at the expected time,” said advisor Chowdhury.
Chairman Karim said they will import coal from Australia and Indonesia and that reputed organisations have been employed to look into issues including building the plants and importing coal.
He was also hopeful about making the plants operational three months before schedule.
Power is being produced using five types of energy. About 80 percent of the daily power is being produced using gas, while furnace oil and diesel are used for producing 17 percent. Water and coal produces 3 percent.
After assuming power the government undertook a plan of raising daily power production by 15,000MW within 2016.
The government has so far struck deals for 56 power plants.