India's Adani Power is using Bangladesh to maximise its profits by planning to export high-cost coal power though it can actually export much cheaper renewable energy instead, said speakers from Bangladesh, India and Australia at a virtual seminar on Monday.
Tim Buckley, director of Energy Finance Studies of the US-based think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), said, "Adani Power is the largest producer of renewable energy in India, which is now the cheapest among all other power generating sources of the country. They even acknowledged that solar energy price will drop by 99 percent in the next four decades."
"If Bangladesh really needs electricity from Adani, it should ask for cheap renewable energy. Otherwise, people in Bangladesh have to pay a much higher price for electricity from Adani Godda coal-fired power plant," he added.
The seminar titled "Adani Godda Coal Power Plant" was co-organised by Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt from Bangladesh, and All India Progressive Women's Association, Indian Social Action Forum, Growthwatch, Environics Trust, and Mines, Minerals and People (mm&p) from India.
Researcher Sajjad Hossain Tuhin told the seminar Bangladesh will be purchasing electricity from Adani Godda plant at the rate of Tk7.53 per unit, whereas solar energy price in India is only Tk2.74.
In August 2016, Adani Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh Power Development Board to set up a 1600 (2x800) MW thermal power plant on the build-own-operate basis in Godda district of Jharkhand, India.
Adani will export the entire power generated from the project to Bangladesh. The coal used for power generation will be imported from Carmichael coal mine of Australia.
In an earlier study in 2018, IEEFA warned that Adani Godda plant would lock Bangladesh into expensive electricity with high emissions at a time when cleaner and cheaper alternative sources of energy are rapidly being deployed across India.
According to IEEFA, the Godda project is a way to provide an alternative destination for coal from Carmichael mine in Australia, which was originally intended for Adani's Mundra plant in India, which is not doing well.
Speakers from India said that the Godda plant is facing strong protests in their country.
Pradeep Yadav, a member of Jharkhand legislative assembly, said, "Land prices of the project were manipulated overnight and it was reduced to one-third of the actual amount. All the related policies were violated."
Suriyanarayan Hembrom, member of an indigenous community who lost his land for construction of the Godda plant, said, "We do not even have enough water to drink. Most of the drinking water sources surrounding the construction site are destroyed. Sharecroppers lost their lands and livelihoods."
Eminent Indian author, journalist and filmmaker Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Indian journalist Abir Dasgupta, Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua and Holly Creenaune from Stop Adani Movement Australia also spoke at the seminar, which was moderated by Indian climate activist Vidya Dinkar.