A Bangladeshi company is setting an example in environmental mitigation by implementing an environment friendly 100- megawatt solar power plant beside the controversial Rampal mega coal power project in Mongla.
A subsidiary of Orion group, Energon Renewables (BD) Ltd yesterday signed an agreement with Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Idcol) mandating it to raise funds for this solar power project.
The Energon project will cost US $143 million dollars. Its construction begins from November.
As it starts generating electricity from August next year, the government will buy per kilowatt hour power for 13.8 cents under a 20-year "no electricity, no payment" agreement with the power development board.
The plant will be set up on 350 acres of land in Rampal—which is already under development now, speakers said at a signing ceremony yesterday.
A big hurdle for any grid-based solar power project is scarcity of land. The government had previously signed several large scale solar power projects but they did not see much progress due to problems in finding suitable land.
Managing Director of Orion Group, Salman Obaidul Karim, noted at the signing ceremony that the power generation capacity of the country has gone up to almost 20,000 megawatts now from a mere 5000 mw in 2009.
"Is this enough?" he said, "No! Why? Because Bangladesh is the second largest garments exporter and we do want more. For this, we need big investment and big infrastructure." He added that the per capita power consumption in Bangladesh was still the lowest in the region and therefore the demand for electricity will continue to go up.
The ceremony was also addressed by Chief Executive Officer of Idcol Mahmud Malik.
Energon will use energy efficient "mono Perc" cells to capture solar rays and convert it to power which would be then supplied as Alternating Current (AC) electricity to the main grid in Mongla, some 13 km away. Mono Perc cells have highest efficiency in generating power among four types of solar cells available in the market.
Bangladeshi power system is dominated by gas-based electricity generation (57 percent), followed by oil based (34%), coal and other resources. To ensure energy security for the country, the government has aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy to 10 percent of the total energy. But use of renewable energy till now is below 3 percent.
The power board had issued a letter of intent to Energon back in 2017 and signed the agreement in February last.
Orion Power has four fuel-based power plants and another is set to be commissioned next year. It is also setting up two 700 mw coal power projects at present.