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Payra 1,320-MW power plant project hits snag

Govt agencies’ lack of synergy blamed

M Azizur Rahman | April 04, 2019 00:00:00

Implementation of the Payra 1,320-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant project in Patuakhali is being delayed, allegedly due to lack of coordination among the stakeholders involved.

Only 70 per cent activities of the power plant worth US$ 1.98 billion has been completed, although the initial target to start electricity generation from a 660-MW unit was April 25.

Its second 660-MW unit was scheduled to initiate commercial operation by October 25.

The required power evacuating transmission line to supply electricity from the plant is not yet completed.

The Payra coal-fired power plant will be the first operational power plant, to be run on imported coal.

The NWPGCL, a 50:50 joint venture between the state-run North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL) and China's China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), is implementing the Payra power plant project.

"We are now expecting to initiate electricity generation commercially from the first 660-MW unit of the plant by this November," managing director (MD) of the Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL) A M Khurshedul Alam told the FE on Monday.

He, however, did not say anything about the expected commissioning date of the second 660-MW unit of the power plant.

Mr Alam blamed non-completion of necessary transmission line for delaying execution of the power plant project.

On the other hand, MD of the state-run Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd (PGCB) Masum-Al-Beruni alleged that the timeline to complete the power transmission line has been changed at least thrice, resulting in the delay.

The initial target to complete the transmission line was December 2019, from where it has been initially shifted ahead to March, then to June, and to August 30 in the latest.

"Had we been provided the exact timeline to complete the power transmission line, we could have done it in time," he claimed.

The consortium of the China Energy Engineering Group, the Northeast Electric Power Construction Co Ltd, and the China National Energy Engineering & Construction Co Ltd is implementing the power plant as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.

The EPC contract between the BCPCL and the consortium was inked on March 29, 2016.

The EPC contractor will have to invest 15 per cent of the EPC cost from its own resources, which will be reimbursed after financial closing, as per the deal.

The project is going to be implemented on a 30:70 equity debt ratio, meaning the NWPGCL and the CMC will have to provide 30 per cent fund of the total project cost, and mobilise the remaining 70 per cent from external sources.

The power plant will have two 660-MW units, and both the units are expected to adopt eco-friendly ultra super critical technology.

The plant will use bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, and its expected efficiency level is 48.05 per cent. It will require around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity.

The BCPCL will provide 20 per cent equity to implement the power plant project, and the remaining 80 per cent is being sourced as loan from Exim Bank of China.

The government has issued a state guarantee worth US$ 1.0 billion in favour of the Chinese loan for implementing the power plant project.

The government has allocated around 998.77 acres of land for implementing the project on turnkey basis.

The initial talks to implement the power plant started around five years back with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the NWPGCL and the CMC on March 19, 2014.

Its land development and protection project involving Tk 7.83 billion was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on October 21, 2014.

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