Quick rental power plants to remain in operation: Tawfiq
Energy adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury on Tuesday said the rental and quick rental power plants would remain in operation in the power generation system as 'peaking power plant' to ensure power supply in peak hours.
"The emergency of the presence of rental and quick rental power projects is much more than earlier as the demand for electricity between peak and off-peak are huge," Dr. Tawfiq Elahi Chowdhury said at a webinar on 'Rental-Quick Rental Power Plants: Past, Present and Future' organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters (FERB).
The Prime Minister Adviser gives thanks to everyone to understand the reality of the rental and quick rental power projects emergency in 2009, it is fact that the price was high but it is also the thumb rule of the payment mode of rental projects.
"Now the time is to discuss about its (rental) presence, everyone knows about the country's energy reserve, possibilities and scope of renewable energy
and at the same time to realise the environment issue and cut down the number of coal projects....so how do we continue to supply cost effective energy to the people," he asked.
He made these comments at the time when the power Development Board had started negotiations with the owners over the tariff issue of five rental and quick rental power projects for the last one week despite a clear objection from the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to extend the tenure of these power projects.
The government was planning to extend the tenure of five rental power plants for another two years having combined capacity to generate 457MW of electricity under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) (Amendment) Act.
Power Cell DG Mohammad Hosssain, BPDB Chairman Belayet Hossain, BPDB Member (Company Affaire) Mahbubur Rahman, Energy Specialist of Center for Policy Dialogue Khondaker Golam Mowazzem, MD. Mozammel Hossain of Summit Power, Navidul Haque and BIPPA President Imran Karim, FERB Chairman Arun Karmaker and Executive Director Shamim Jahangir took part in the discussion.
Dr Mustofa Kamal Mujeri presented the keynote paper.
Tawfiq Elahi Chowdhury said to minimize the cost of the rental projects we are choosing 'no electricity no payment' mode and go for fuel diversification so that 'we could be able to ensure power production from different sources'.
"We have no plan to make BPDB as a profit making entity. We just want to make it a cost effective one so that the tariff would be low at consumers end."
Rental and quick rental power plants came into operation in mid-2011 based on unsolicited offers under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act 2010 as the country was facing an acute electricity crisis at that time.
All these plants got an initial extension by five years in 2016. As many as 65 projects in the power and energy sector were approved under the law, according to the Power Division.
Taking part in the discussion BPDB Chairman Belayet Hossain said, "The rental /quick rental projects are the golden spooned baby of BPDB, now they have to think about their future plan to cope with the present situation."
"The extension plan of these projects would be a huge burden and challenge for the government as BPDB is working on its own generation plan keeping in mind that there would be no such plant in future," he said.
"We did not see any justification to continue with the high cost projects as we are flooded by the overcapacity," CPD specialists said.
The keynote speaker Dr. Mustafa Kamal Mujeri said the benefit of any project is not only calculated with its cost, it's related with other social and economic value. Unfortunately people did not discuss those as far as the rental or quick rental power projects are concerned.
He suggested continuing the present pace of development and attaining the GDP growth. "We will continue with the projects which is only 4 percent of the total generation but 457 MW of electricity is a huge peak hour demand that helps development immensely."
The government claimed that it had the capacity of generating 25,227MW of electricity including captive power plants but the actual capacity is 15, 000 MW due to different causes including derated capacity, gas shortage, power plant shutdown and forced shut down.
However, the government has already discontinued 13 rental and quick rental power projects having combined capacity to generate 1001MW of electricity.
It will require extension of a few power projects for stable grid frequency, Power Division officials said.