Bangladesh’s delayed import of electricity from 1600 MW Jharkhand plant in India may start in November

Bangladesh hopes to get electricity from the 1600 MW coal-fired power plant in the Indian state of Jharkhand from November this year after about a year of delay, according to officials at Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB).

The import of the electricity was scheduled to begin in in January this year, officials at the company confirmed.

But the slow progress in both power plant construction and transmission line installation forced the authorities in Bangladesh and India to revise the commercial operation date (COD) and set a new schedule for August this year.

But now the project may take further time to be completed, said the officials of the PGCB which was responsible to build the transmission line for evacuation of power from India.

Golam Kibria, managing director of the PGCB, acknowledged the delay.

“We hope that the transmission line will now be ready by October-November this year to get supply from the project”, he told UNB this week.

He noted that the transformers of the project were supposed to come from China a few months back. “But factory closure in China for Covid-19 situation delayed the supply,” he said.

“The pandemic has forced us to set a new COD”, a senior official working at Adani Group’s Dhaka Office confirmed to UNB.

Currently, Bangladesh imports a total of 1160 MW power from India, of which 1000 MW is coming from West Bengal and 160 MW from Tripura.

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Adani Group during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in June 2015 to import 1600 MW power from Jharkhand.

After a long negotiation, the two sides signed two final deals—power purchase agreement (PPA) and implementation agreement (IA)—in November 2017.

As per the deals, Adani will set up the 1600 MW coal-fired power plant in Godda, Jharkhand of which the first unit will start commercial operation within 44 months and the second unit within 50 months.

Bangladesh will import electricity from the plant over a period of 25 years at a tariff of 8.612 US cents (Tk 6.890) per unit.

A Power Division document reveals that Bangladesh will pay about $23.87 billion, equivalent to Tk 1,909,75.607 crore, over the next 25 years to the Indian Adani Group to purchase the electricity from the plant.

As per the deadline set in the agreement, official sources said the Adani Group’s both the units were supposed to start commercial operation in 2020. But the Covid-19 situation forced the rescheduling of the deadline.

After missing the deadline of construction, the Adani Group was trying tGovt aims for 10% electricity from renewables by 2025o start the operation of its 800 MW first unit on December 16 in 2021, as part of the commemoration of the Bangladesh’s Victory Day, said an official of the Indian conglomerate who cannot be identified as he is not authorized to speak to media.

“But the initiative was not successful because of the failure on both the sides—Adani Group and BPDB”, said the top official adding that neither the transmission line nor the plant was ready.

The PGCB took up the project to build a 28-km 400 kV Rahanpur-Monakasha double circuit transmission line at a cost of Tk 225.49 crore to evacuate from the power plant at Bangladesh border point. Indian company Transrail Lighting Limited was appointed as contractor for the project.

As per the annual report of the PGCB, the project achieved Cumulative Physical progress of 91 and financial 87.57 up December 2021.

PGCB official document said the project will facilitate supply of imported power from India to Bangladesh national grid and to meet the growing power demand in Rajshahi and Rangpur regions, the agricultural economic centre of the country, and capital Dhaka.

Adani Group officials said the company has to build a 100 km transmission line on the Indian side to reach electricity from the plant to the Bangladesh border.

Source: United News of Bangladesh