The government has taken up a master plan to generate power to cope with its increasing demand, which targets generation of 24,000 megawatt (MW) of electricity by 2021 and 40,000 MW by 2030.
According to the Power Division, it is contemplating diversification of energy use to ensure access of more people to electricity and it now eyes generation of power by using liquefied natural gas (LNG).
To this end, an LNG-based combined cycle, first of its kind in the country, will be set up in Khulna. Under an agreement with Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in June this year, this 750-850 megawatt capacity power plant will be implemented by 2021. The raw material or LNG will come from an LNG terminal in Kolkata of the Indian state West Bengal.
The estimated cost of the project is Tk 7, 256 crore, of which Tk 1,535 crore will come from the government, Tk 11.5 crore from North-West Power Generation Company Limited, the local firm that will implement the project, while foreign development partners will provide around Tk5,710 crore.
A high government official said under the master plan more than 50 per cent of the power plants will be LNG- and coal-based.
"The proposed LNG-based project will be placed soon at the Pre-evaluation Committee (PEC) of the Planning Commission," the official said, adding that after PEC's nod, it will go to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for its final approval.
Another official of the Power Wing of the Planning Commission told the Daily Observer: "Considering gas situation in the country and fluctuation of fuel prices in the international market, multilateral power production system should be adopted. In diversification of energy use, the proposed LNG-based power plant will play an important role. Now it will be right to take up this project after ensuring LNG supply infrastructure."
He also suggested that the place where the plant would be set up should have a navigable channel of LNG-carrying ships. "This channel may be made at Mongla port through coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Shipping, water resource and power divisions.
Meanwhile, as per the deal with the GAIL, an Indian gas pipeline will be extended to the Khulna LNG-fired power plant. This 46-kilometre long pipeline will be drawn from Petrapole land port, which is 80 kilometres off Aranghata pipeline station of Kolkata, to Jessore via Benapole. For this pipeline ADB (Asian Development Bank) financing has been sought.