Siddhirganj power plant capacity raised to 450mw

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=129646&date=2011-03-18

Siddhirganj power plant capacity raised to 450mw
Project re-designed to get WB support

FHM Humayan Kabir

The government has increased the capacity of Siddhirganj power plant to 450 megawatt (mw) instead of the earlier 300mw to get World Bank’s financial support, officials said Thursday.

Power Division officials said the Electricity Generation Company Bangladesh (EGCB) has re-designed the scheme and has sought approval of the government’s highest economic decision making body, ECNEC.

“We have already sent the revised proposal to the planning ministry for getting approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC),” acting Managing Director of EGCB Shantiram Rai told the FE.

He said they have also sent two responsive bids to the World Bank (WB) for getting its concurrence for the revised 450mw scheme, to be bankrolled by the global lender.

The EGCB has enhanced power generation capacity of the Siddhirganj project revising its cost at Tk 4.15 billion instead of Tk 2.07 billion, estimated earlier for 300mw plant, a Power Division official said.

The Washington-based lender refused to finance the 300mw Siddhirganj peaking power plant for reservation on the qualified bidder, selected for awarding installation work in 2009.

The WB said it will not disburse its committed $ 200 million fund for the 300mw Siddhirganj project as the government-selected bidder quoted the Bank’s blacklisted “Siemens brand” machinery for the power plant.

The global lender in 2008 had confirmed $ 350 million loans for installing 300mw Siddhirganj peaking power station and for two other projects – a gas supply pipeline to the plant and a power transmission grid from the plant.

After re-structuring the project, the EGCB had invited tenders. Two firms submitted bids. It has sent the technical and financial offers of the two bidders to the World Bank office for getting its concurrence.

“We are waiting for concurrence of the World Bank. If it allows the qualified bidder, we will offer them the power plant construction work,” Mr Rai said.

We have planned to complete the re-structured Siddhirganj 450mw plant construction work by June 2014, he added.

Considering severe power plunges in the Dhaka city, the government in 2007 had undertaken the Siddhirganj 300mw peaking power station for installation by 2012 and signed a $ 350 million credit deal with the global lender.

When the WB refused to fund Siddhirganj power project, the government fell into a deep trouble as the said project is one of the top priority projects for stamping out the ongoing electricity supply plunge.

In September last year, the WB came forward with its new proposal of re-structuring the project to 450mw scrapping the original 300mw design.

Bangladesh’s fast growing economy has seen power demand sharply outstripping supply, resulting in frequent power outages, voltage fluctuations and losses in economic output estimated at nearly $ 1.0 billion a year.

While the economy has grown by an average of 6.0 per cent a year since 2005, less than half the population of 156 million has access to power. Unreliable power supply hurts industry and hampers efforts to provide better economic opportunities and social services for the poor.

The WB official said following severe power outages in Bangladesh, the Bank has decided to bankroll the re-structured 450mw plant from its earlier design.

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