The second unit of Payra 1320-Megawatt Thermal Power Plant – which is the country's largest coal-fired plant – has begun electricity production on an experimental basis.
Project Director Helal Shah Abdul Mawla told The Business Standard that the plant was synchronised with the national grid at 4pm on Wednesday.
Giving further details, he said, "The unit is now supplying electricity to the national grid on a test basis. For next one month, different tests will be conducted and the plant's power generation will gradually increase to 622MW.
"After the trial production, necessary preparations will be taken to go into commercial production."
The 1st unit of the plant started its test run on January 13, and began commercial operation on May 14 this year.
Officials at the Power Division said the plant is likely to become an economic burden for the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) as it will need to pay about Tk320 crore in capacity charge every month to the plant, aside from the energy purchase cost.
They also said the BPDB will not be able to use the full capacity of the plant until 2022 due to the slow progress of the transmission line. The transmission line has not crossed the Padma river.
Therefore, the power from this plant will not be transmitted to other parts of the country, the officials said.
According to sources, the Payra thermal power plant will require 12,000 tonnes of coal per day to keep the plant running in full force. The country has been importing the fuel from Indonesia.
Construction of the coal-fired power plant started on March 30, 2016 in Kalapara area of Patuakhali.
Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited, a joint venture between Bangladesh's Northwestern Power Generation Company and China's state-owned CMC, has been implementing the project.
The 1st unit of the power station was earlier scheduled for production in December 2018. But it lagged behind the schedule as the construction of seaports for importing coal and installation of power transmission lines for distribution was delayed.
As a result, the plant was rescheduled for August 27, 2019 to go into operation. But it finally came into production nine more months later.