State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that all studies till now show that local coal extraction for power generation is neither feasible nor cost-effective.
He made the remarks while speaking at a webinar on "EP Talks: Payra Power Plant: An Example of Timely Execution" on Saturday.
He said the government has conducted a number of feasibility studies on coal extraction from Jamalganj and other coal deposits.
"But so far all the studies show extraction of coal from the local mines is not viable and cost effective for their use in power plants", he said.
Appreciating the Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd (BCPCL), a joint venture company between the two countries, for timely implementation of 1320 MW coal-fired Payra Power Plant in Kalapara, Patuakhali, Hamid hailed it as a 'great success' in the face of the opposition from different quarters.
A number of environmental or left-oriented groups at home and abroad have been against the government move for construction of coal-fired power plants.
"Now, the management of Payra Plant should take those opposition groups to visit the plant to show them its environmental and other aspects," he said.
Nasrul Hamid said that construction of Matarbari port will facilitate coal import and transportation which will further reduce the fuel cost of the plant.
The online seminar was also addressed by eminent energy expert Dr M Tamim, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Belayet Hossain, Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain, and Bangladesh, North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL) managing director & CEO Khurshedul Alam.
BCPCL chief engineer and project director Shah Abdul Maula made a presentation on the topic while Mollah Amzad conducted the seminar.
Bangladeshi NWPGCL and Chinese CMC jointly formed the BCPCL to implement the maiden 1320 MW coal-fired power plant.
M Tamim said the properly coordinated works were the key factors behind the success of the Payra Power Plant in coming into operation as per schedule.
He also appreciated the rehabilitation measures for affected local peoples by project.
Mohammad Hossain said strategic partnership with Chinese company and dynamic leadership of NWPGCL played a major role in timely execution of the project.
Belayet Hossain said the fuel cost of the coal-fired Payra power plant is Tk 2.5 per unit while the fuel cost of furnace oil-based power plant is Tk 8-8.5 per unit.
"Considering this, coal-fired power generation is the cheaper option for Bangladesh," he added.
Khurshedul Alam said the NWPGCL has taken up some more projects including a 3,600 MW LNG-based power plant, 1,320 MW second phase coal-fired power plant and a 50 MW wind power plant.