Category Archives: Energy Sector

Qatar proposes to install 1000MW power plant at Moheskhali

Qatar proposes to install 1000MW power plant at Moheskhali
The JV project would be based on LNG

Shamim Jahangir

The state of Qatar has proposed the government to set up a 1,000-megawatt liquefied natural gas (LNG) based power plant at Moheskhali islands of Cox’s Bazar district under a joint-venture initiative with Bangladesh, senior government officials said.

A high-powered visiting team of Qatar led by its Assistant Minister for International Cooperation Affairs, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Jabr Al Thani, made the initial proposal during a bilateral meeting with senior government officials at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka on May 27.

During the meeting, Fawaz A Al Bakar Raf-Al, who is involved with LNG projects of Qatar, said, “Qatar is interested to invest in the joint venture power project without participating in competitive bidding process.”

“Then both Bangladesh and Qatar would settle the investment and power tariff issues to set up the mega project on the basis of build, own and operate,” he said.

The power plant might be installed under the joint venture or Independent Power Producer (IPP) mode subject to agreement between the two parties, Additional Power Division Secretary M Mofazzel Hossain told daily sun.

In the meeting, Fawaz A Al Bakar Raf-Al requested the Power Division officials here to send necessary documents to his country for setting up the plant.

Gulf state Qatar is one of the largest LNG producers in the world, with which the government has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to procure LNG.

Earlier, in August, 2010, the government had formed a LNG taskforce on the installation of a LNG terminal. The taskforce is likely to extend its deadline till June 10 for submitting its bidding documents for the country’s first LNG terminal at Moheshkhali in the Bay of Bengal.

Bermuda-based Golar LNG Energy, a joint venture of the USA-based Astra Oil and Excelerate Energy, South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corporation, and India’s Hiranandani Electricity, were short listed by the government for the project, involving about one billion dollars. The government wants the terminal to have a capacity of handling 5.0 million tonnes of LNG per year, re-gasification capacity of at least 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) and berthing and mooring facilities for LNG ships of 138,000-260,000 cubic metres.

The country’s on-going gas crisis is around 500 mmcfd against the demand of over 2,500 mmcfd.


Innovative power plants

Innovative power plants
Author / Source : MD JAMIL KHAN

[KERANIGANJ: Serious load-shedding has compelled the residents to hire barges and set generators on them. Photo: Tarif Rahman] DHAKA, JUNE 2: It is not government-sponsored quick rental project but rental it is. Endemic power shortage, and load-shedding have compelled the people to devise the way as an alternative source of power when the existing plants cannot meet the demand. Such plants are found in Keraniganj where a group of people supplies electricity to several markets by installing a dozen generators on a drum barge.  The barge was anchored in the river of Buriganga.

Saiful Islam, owner of the M.D. Alamnagar drum barge said, “We are operating the business for more than a year in order to give support to businessmen of the area in cheap rate.”

“But this year, the power crisis of the area has crossed the limit than earlier as we only get electricity for two hours in a day,” Saiful said adding, “If the authority concerned do not take initiative to increase the condition then we have no other option but to shut the businesses from here.”

Visiting the area, this correspondent found that six barges have been set up on the area having the capacity of providing two megawatt of electricity daily. It provides electricity, sometimes for 13 hours, to 3000 shops and 700 small garment factories which have grown on the bank of the Buriganga under Keraniganj.

Those who are taking the electricity service from the barge are the owners of Khaja Super Market, Alam Tower, Sahidul Alam, S. Alam and garment factories at Sholu Towers.

The owner of the barges charge Tk 300 for a bulb, Tk 800 for a machine of a factory and Tk 500 for a fan a month.

They need 10 barrels of oil everyday to run a generator normally. One barrel of oil costs Tk 12 thousand. In the process they spend Tk 1.2 lakh daily. But these days they have to spend Tk 2 lakh daily as the demand is rising every day.

It is our good luck that this commercial service is providing us electricity to keep our work going without any interruption, said Sahidul Islam, owner of a garment factory.

If they shut their service, then we don’t know what will happen for us and minimum 700 small factory owners of the area, he added.

The drum barge is not only supporting the business community of the area but also creating employment facilities for the jobless people of the area. According to sources, a total of 120 people are working in the six drum barge of the area. The workers said that earlier their family was in very poor condition but they are now living happily.

Mohammad Aziz, an operator of the barge said, “Earlier, I would spend a very miserable life with my family members but now I am happy as I am getting a standard salary from the owner of the barge.”

Mohammad Mizan, an inhabitant of the area said, “The barge owners are doing a valuable work as they are helping the business community to run their businesses by giving uninterrupted power supply.”

He also urged social NGOs of the country to come forward like this barge owner to help the people of the country so that they can lead a happy life and continue their regular work as electricity is essential for our daily life.

JS passes Bangladesh Atomic Energy Control Bill-2012

JS passes Bangladesh Atomic Energy Control Bill-2012

SANGSAD BHABAN, May 31 (BSS)- The Jatiya Sangsad today passed the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Control Bill-2012 with a view to facilitating peaceful use of nuclear power.

State Minister for Science and Technology Architect Yeafes Osman piloted the bill in the House. Later, the bill was passed in voice votes.

The bill proposed constitution of a five-member regulatory body titled ‘Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority’ headed by a chairman. In the bill, the words authorization holder, sabotage, import and export, ionizing radiation, source material, commission, radioactive material, radioactive waste and management, radioactivity, nuclear incident, nuclear fuel, nuclear accident, nuclear safety, nuclear material, nuclear damage, nuclear reactor, nuclear radiological emergency, nuclear energy, security, nuclear installation, atomic energy, specified equipment, specified non-nuclear material, radiation, radiation protection, overseas operator or operator, physical protection and facility source were defined afresh.

The bill has the provision of not to allow any authorized person, operator or overseas operator to select site for setting up any nuclear or radiation installation, prepare design, carryout construction, commission, operate and decommission, shut down disposal center of nuclear waste and open any restricted area without approval under the rules of the authorities.

The bill has made specific provisions for the process of approving nuclear radiation and nuclear waste disposal centers, authorization of controlling import and export of related equipment, suspension and cancellation of approval, safety and security of radioactive material, protection against radiation, physical safety, procedure of maintaining state accounts related to nuclear materials, management of nuclear waste and used fuel, taking emergency preparation and measures.

Besides, the bill also has specific provisions of preparing nuclear and radiological emergency plan, liability of operator or overseas operator, liability of duration of transportation, responsibility, financial safeguard, compensation, jurisdiction, inspection and taking measures, misdeeds, trials and punishments.

Earlier on May 27, State Minister for Science and Technology Architect Yeafes Osman placed the bill in the House. The cabinet approved the draft of the bill on March 29.

The Solar Alternative

Cover Story

The Solar Alternative

About 37% of Bangladesh’s population is connected to the electricity grid, meaning the majority of countrymen do not have access to a formal electricity connection. But life must go on. Solar energy is considered to be an alternative as it generates power independently in the off-grid areas. It is also cleaner compared to fossil fuel fired power supplied by the grid. According to the Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL), as of 2011, solar energy has given approximately 10 million rural people access to power; enabling them to explore various modern livelihood options. Dr. Rumi Shammin (Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences at Oberlin College, Ohio, USA) and I visited rural areas in Khulna to see how solar energy had changed the lives of village people.

Dr. A. K. Enamul Haque

We had set out early on 28 March 2012. To find people using solar energy, we needed to travel further than the reach of the national power grid, so, our destinations were Batiaghata and Dacope, both in the Khulna district. We wanted to understand who uses solar power in rural Bangladesh, and how solar energy benefits them. Despite it being almost three times as costly as the next best alternative (lantern), solar energy is changing the lives of thousands. We wanted to see how people are adopting such instances of technological innovation and what do they do with the new found ‘light’ in their homes and businesses. Frankly, we were surprised by the ingenuity of village folk in using solar energy to change their life and raise their income.

It starts with basic indoor lighting, and since solar energy became available, rural activities no longer stop with the sunset. We met a lady who, after being divorced by her husband, has taken up teaching school students privately at her home. She lives with her mother and brother, but one batch wasn’t allowing her to earn enough. Now she teaches two batches, one in daylight, and one at night using solar lights. Her income has doubled. Even in parts that have grid electricity, solar powered power systems provide backup power, filling in for power cuts. We had tea at a roadside tea stall which was using solar power. When asked, the stall keeper said he preferred to use a legal solar system, instead of using an illegal stolen connection which he could lose at any moment.

Solar energy has changed entertainment options as well. In a privately run game centre behind a tea stall, people were paying 8 taka per game to play ‘karam’ at night, with the room lit up by a solar powered light bulb. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to see one, we heard of irrigation pumps being run by solar power as well.

Once we had left the poles of the power grid more than 20 kms behind, we were surprised to find that life was abuzz in villages, even at night. With almost every person in the country having access to mobile phones, there is a need to recharge batteries. We found mobile phone charging shops that charge by the hour to charge phones! The person running it also knew some light mobile engineering and operates a solar-powered mobile repair shop as well. Small businesses also exist where people can make phone calls from, at only 1 taka per call. These small businesses need to charge their phones constantly, and are able to do so using solar power.

Unfortunately, solar power is not being used where it should be, in the cities. The tall buildings of Dhaka have tremendous potential of generating electricity using solar panels, a potential that has not been tapped. Since formal electricity is being sold at subsidized prices (costing the government billions in fuel costs), there is no natural incentive to use solar power at homes where grid energy exists. People would rather use diesel based backup power instead of solar, since solar power is still comparatively more expensive. But things need to change slowly over time, and we need policy to change people’s motivations, starting with a mandatory requirement of generating a portion of all consumed electricity on site using solar power. This will reduce pressure on grid electricity, reduce power cuts, improve environmental conditions, and free up electricity which can be supplied to spots where poles and wires exist without any actual supply. In the long run, such a policy will also motivate estate developers and apartment builders to design the surface area of buildings in a way that is greener and more conducive to capturing sunlight, enabling buildings to generate as much solar power as possible.

A solar home system would cost between 10,000 taka to 50,000 taka depending on its capacity and what really bothered me is that rural people were borrowing money to pay for this light source even though they perhaps never spent this much money to buy a comfortable bed in their houses. Yet, in city areas, we are set to use generators instead of solar lights to power our houses during power failures.

The cost of solar units in urban locations will be even cheaper if we promote a ‘net meter’ by which SHSs can be used to produce and sell electricity to the power distribution companies in the cities using our rooftops. Rough calculations would show that there is opportunity in Dhaka city alone to produce nearly 600MW of electricity if we ensure that all dwellers produce 10-20% of their power consumptions using solar systems. However, instead of consuming at home they should supply it to the grid so that the need for batteries is reduced, in turn reducing the cost by at least 50% or more. Alternatively, government could think of reverse incentives scheme through a discriminatory pricing of electricity in urban areas. This means that houses who produce and sell electricity at least 10% of their consumed power needs to the distribution companies will continue to pay same price per unit of power while who does not will have to pay 50-100 greater price for a unit of electricity. There are various policy options that can be considered to make this a reality. Ironically, producing electricity through diesel costs very little (compared to solar energy) and so we are using diesel powered generators in the cities and polluting the air. This fact alone should make us respect our rural people more, who pay so much more for power.

Dr. Haque is Professor of Economics at United International University

Cover Art by Ujjal Ghose

HK-based firm wants to install 950MW power plants

HK-based firm wants to install 950MW power plants
The company wants to get work in a mutual understanding with Govt, instead of competitive tender
Shamim Jahangir

China Zhongyuan Trading Limited (CZTL), a Hong Kong-based company, has shown interest to install two power plants- one gas-fired and another coal-fired- with generation capacity of 950 megawatt (MW) of electricity in Bangladesh through mutual understanding.

Zhang Zai Tao, the general manager of the company, recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placing a technical and financial offer for installing 300 to 450 MW gas-based combined cycle and 500 MW coal-fired power plant in the country.

The company is planning to install the two large power plants under China Exim Bank Credit facilities, the letter read.

“We come to know that BPDB (Bangladesh Power Development Board) has floated international tender for three units of 300MW-450MW gas-based power plant and one unit of 250MW coal-based power plant,” Zhang Zai Tao said.

CZTL wants to implement projects in mutual understanding instead of facing competitive bid, the official said.

“We have participated thrice in the bids for Ghorasal power plant project. Unfortunately, BPDB didn’t award the contract to anyone,” the letter read.

The official said the company alone with NEPDI, an associate of the company, is capable to undertake at least 2000 MW of power plant under the company’s technical and financial assistance.

Meanwhile, a number of retired officials of BPDB were invited on 22nd this month by Power Division to a view-exchange meeting on installing power plants. The retired officials requested the power division not to use Chinese technology in installing the power plants because of ‘poor quality’.

Abu Ishak, former managing director of West Zone Power Distribution Company, who attended the meeting said: “W!e had bitter experience of applying Chinese technical assistance in the installation of Tongi Power Plant and Barapukuria Power Plant.”

Besides, Bangladesh and China will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a joint venture power plant in Moheskhali, Cox’s Bazar by imported coal to generate 1320 MW of electricity by mid of this year.

BPDB and the China Hudian Hong Kong Company will ink the MoU on behalf of their respective sides, the official said.

According to the officials concerned, the ships laden with 50,000 tonnes of coal for the power plant could enter the country through Moheskhali belt.

The government has already directed the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Cox’s Bazar to acquire 5000 acres of land for the plant.

The China Hudian Hong Kong Company has so far produced 90,000 MW of power, 70 of which is based on coal. The company has coalmine sites in Cambodia, Indonesia and Australia, an official said.

2000 mw power to be generated by biogas plants

2000 mw power to be generated by biogas plants, Cox’s Bazar

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr AtiurRahman Saturday said it is possible to generate 2000mw of electricity bybringing the country’s 120,000 poultry farms under biogas management plants.

The central bank chief came upwith the disclosure while addressing the inaugural function of biogas plantmanagement as a chief guest at Ramu upazila of the district.

He added: “Poultry industryis the second largest source of grameen employment.”

“With a view to encouraging the people, Bangladesh Bank has taken initiative ever first to invest in theenvironment friendly biogas plant management programme,” he said.

A poultry farmer named Mujibur Rahman said, “I made a biogas plant by using the wastage of a poultry farmwith the technical help of Rahman Renewable Energy Company.”

He added: “A total of Tk 10lakh has been cost behind the project whereas the Eastern Bank Limited gave meloan of Tk 7.35 lakh.”

“Now I am producing 3500kwof electricity from the plant sized in 50 cubic mitres of biogas plant,”he said.

Meeting my needs, I am nowplanning to supply the excess electricity to the neighbouring 15 housescommercially, said Rahman.

Khorshed Alam, SME Chief ofEastern Bank, said the bank has introduced ‘EBL-Nabadoy’ scheme for thedevelopment of sustainable business.

One can get Tk 10 lakh loanwithout deposit under the scheme, he said adding in the meantime, Tk 39 lakhhas been disbursed to six projects.

Eastern Bank Managing DirectorAli Reza Iftekhar, International Finance Corporation Regional Representative Ziba A Perumal Pillai, Programme Manager Mrinal K Sarkar, Rahman RenewableEnergy Company Managing Director Redoanur Rahman were among others present  at the function.

IFC helps farmers convert waste to electricity

IFC helps farmers convert waste to electricity
Staff Correspondent

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) to help poultry farmers buy technology that uses waste to generate electricity, enabling farmers to increase their efficiency, productivity and profitability.

With support from SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC, in partnership with UK Department for International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, EBL yesterday launched ‘EBL Nobodoy’, a customised loan product to help farmers install fixed-dome biogas plants to convert animal waste into electricity.

IFC said around 2 billion chickens in Bangladesh produce some 2.2 million tonnes of manure a year. Efficient management of this waste, converting it into a cheap and reliable source of energy, will help small farmers develop sustainable poultry businesses, it added in a press release on Friday.

Dr Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Ali Reza Iftekhar, managing director of EBL and Jeeva A Perumalpillai-Essex, head of IFC’s Sustainable Business Advisory in South Asia, among others, addressed the inaugural function in Cox’s Bazar.

Dr Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, encouraged other financial institutions to create “need-based initiatives that promote climate-change mitigation projects.” Farmers being able to generate their own electricity will also help reduce the diesel subsidy being provided by the government, he added.

Ali Reza Iftekhar, managing director of Eastern Bank, said: “Our bank is dedicated to sustainable development, which is the cornerstone of everything that we do. We are committed to financing businesses that invest in green technology and will continue exploring innovative ways to improve local communities and the environment.”

Jeeva A. Perumalpillai-Essex: “In the area of clean and renewable energy promotion, we look for projects that combat climate change and benefit the overall economy of Bangladesh. This project is a perfect example of getting far-reaching results from a very local approach.”

IFC said Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and as a low-lying country is also extremely vulnerable to climate change, with food security and disaster management deserving high priority. Bangladesh’s GDP stands at $100 billion, fueled mostly by growth in textiles and agriculture.