A consortium of local industrial giant the Orion Group and two foreign companies have signed a power purchase agreement with Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) to set up a 635MW coal-fired power plant in Gazaria, Munshiganj.
PDB Secretary M Zahirul Haque and Orion Group’s Managing Director Salman Obaidul Karim signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides at Bidyut Bhaban in Dhaka yesterday.
This project is a part of a plan to install two coal-fired power plants in Dhaka and Chittagong regions, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on September 29, 2013.
The two foreign companies are China-based Fujian Zhongde Energy Co Ltd and UAE-based Firstgen Energy FZE, venturing with Orion Group’s member company Orion Power Meghnaghat Ltd, a power generation company based in Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
According to the agreement, the state-owned PDB will purchase electricity from the plant for the next 25 years at a levellised tariff of Tk5.86 per unit – kilowatt per hour – once the plant goes into operation, which is estimated to begin in 45 months.
The project has already made significant progress, said Mohammad Obaidul Karim, chairman of the Orion Group.
“We made a commitment to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to finish the construction of the power plant within 45 months. The construction work will start in full swing now that the contract has been signed,” he said at the signing ceremony.
“We have signed a contract with the General Electric of the US to acquire the primary equipment for the project, including boiler, turbine and generator.”
Meanwhile, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been signed with China’s Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute, he added.
The project has also received the approval of the terms of reference for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) from the Department of Environment.
“The notion that coal-based power plant harms the environment is not right,” said Obaidul. “Around 50-70% electricity in various developed countries are produced using coal.”
PDB Chairman Shamsul Hasan Miah said this power plant would be built using ultra-supercritical technology, which is why carbon emission from this plant would be significantly less than usual.
Monowar Islam, secretary at the Power Division, said around 45% electricity in the country is being produced by the private sector. “We are considering the private sector as the ‘engine of growth’,” he said.
However, power produced by private companies cannot be termed private, he said. “Entrepreneurs from the private sector are working with the public sector as partners.”
Orion Group has another deal with the government to set up three other coal-based power plants to add 1,088MW electricity to the national grid, signed on June 27, 2012. Implementation of that deal is in progress.