Uncertainty looms large over the timely execution of transmission projects to facilitate electricity evacuation from the proposed 1,320 MW Payra coal-fired power plant.
According to sources at the Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), the projects, taken by the government for creating required transmission facilities, are still running far behind the schedule, which may ultimately impede the power evacuation from the Payra plant.
Bangladesh and China are jointly implementing the Payra power plant project, the largest-ever coal-fired plant having two units with the capacity of 660 MW each.
The BCPCL has set a target to start commercial operation of the first unit of the plant in December this year and the second unit in June or July next year.
“We’ve already signed a contract to import coal from Indonesia and all the necessary arrangements are being made targeting December as a schedule for starting the commercial operation of the first unit,” Shah Abdul Maula, the project director and chief engineer of the BCPCL, told UNB.
He said necessary port facilities are being created adjacent to the plant to facilitate transportation of coal to the power plant. “But, we fear whether they’ll be ready by the time.”
Meanwhile, officials at Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), which is responsible for implanting the transmission projects, admitted that they are lagging behind the schedule in some cases for various reasons.
They said a major project was undertaken by the PGCB to build a number of transmission lines and substations to facilitate power evacuation from Payra plant.
These include construction of 160 km 400kV double circuit transmission line from Payra plant to Gopalganj, and 164.6 km Aminbazar - Mawa – Gopalganj-Mongla 400 kV double circuit line, installation of 400/132 kV, 3x325 MVA AIS Substation, construction of 9.4 km river-crossing line beside Padma Bridge and installation of substation (400 kV portion) at Aminbazar with 3x520 MVA transformers.
PGCB officials said all these projects are being implemented targeting the power evacuation from both the Payra and Rampal power plants and these projects will cost about Tk 4650 crore of which Tk 3294 crore will be spent on Payra plant transmission facilities while about Tk 1356 crore on Rampal plant’s transmission facilities.
“But the main challenge is to construct a 9.4-km river-crossing line beside Padma Bridge which has already got delayed in financing and tender process,” said a top official at the PGCB.
He said there is a schedule to implement these projects by March 2021. “But, further time may require for completing the projects.”
Contacted, PGCB executive director (planning and dev) Yeakub Elahi Chowdhury admitted the delay in implementation of the Padma River-crossing line project.
He, however, said all the necessary administrative procedures have been completed by awarding contracts to a contractor and now the construction process will start soon.