The first cargo of coal to be used for generating electricity at the 1,320-megawatt Payra coal-fired thermal power plant reached newly built Payra jetty on Thursday afternoon.
Chinese vessel Xin Hai Tong loaded with Indonesian coal reached Payra jetty at around 1:30 pm on the day, managing director of Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd Md Khurshedul Alam told the FE.
He said this power plant will facilitate commissioning of the first 660-MW unit of the power plant.
The Chinese vessel carried around 200,000 tonnes of coal from Indonesian firm PT Bayan Resources Tbk, said Mr Alam.
It set sail for Bangladesh on September 10. The second coal cargo is expected to reach Payra jetty in October.
Officials said the construction work on the $1.98-billion power plant in Patuakhali is going on in full swing.
Around 85 per cent work on the under-construction facility, some 320 kilometres south off Dhaka and close to the proposed Payra seaport, has already been completed.
State-run Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd has been working to complete a 400-kilovolt transmission line by September 30 to ease power evacuation from the plant.
The 1,320-MW Payra power plant would be the first such facility which will run on imported coal.
BCPCL, the project executor, has signed an agreement with the Indonesian supplier to annually import an estimated 4.0 million tonnes of coal for 10 years to operate it.
Coal price has been tagged with the Newcastle international coal price index having a discount of up to 60 per cent depending on the price movement.
Discount would increase if coal price shoots up globally and it would decrease if the price slides.
Initially, BCPCL will import directly from Indonesia with half-loaded 'Supramax' vessel having the volume of around 20,000 tonnes per cargo, said a BCPCL official.
After successful construction of transhipment facility in the Andaman, mother cargo vessel would be able to carry coal for the power plant, he added.
The first unit having 660-MW capacity at the power plant would go into operation by December 2019 and the second one having the same capacity by June 2020.
Some 13,000 tonnes of coal will be required per day to run the plant with full capacity.
It will use the best coal and apply ultra-supercritical technology with minimal environmental impacts, said a senior official of power division under the power, energy and mineral resources ministry.
BCPCL is a 50-50 joint venture between Bangladesh's NWPGCL and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).
BCPCL has been supplying 20 per cent equity to implement the project and the remaining 80 per cent is being sourced as loan from Exim Bank of China.
Bangladesh has issued a $1.0-billion worth of state guarantee in favour of the Chinese loan to this end.
It has allocated 998.77 acres of land to NWPGCL for the project on a turnkey basis by using eco-friendly ultra-supercritical technology.
The country started importing a huge quantity of hard black mineral to run the coal-fired power plant only due to non-availability of local coal.
It has five coal mines but extracts coal only from Barapukuria mine in Dinajpur, utilising the underground coal-mining method.
Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) annually extracts around 1.0 million tonnes, most of which is consumed by the nearby Barapukuria thermal power plant.
According to the power system master plan, officials said, the government expects to generate around 50 per cent of the local overall electricity from coal.
As planned, the government will have to generate around 12,000 megawatt of electricity from coal by 2024 while 20,000 MW by 2030 and 30,000 MW by 2041.
But the country has only three coal-fired plants having the total generation capacity of only 524 MW.
Currently, the government has been working on three major power generation hubs at Payra in Patuakhali, Maheshkhali and Matarbari in Cox's Bazar where several big import-based coal-fired power plants will be built.
The construction work on a 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant at Rampal in Bagerhat is also going on in full swing.
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