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Export of power to India unlikely to happen soon

Per unit production cost too high


SYFUL ISLAM | Published: October 19, 2019 09:53:24 | Updated: October 19, 2019 17:02:09


- File photo/ Collected

Bangladesh may not start exporting electricity anytime soon unless production costs go cheaper than that of India, officials have said.

An adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina felt that export of power to India might not be considered until economic implications and feasibility are found favourable.

"(Electricity) export will make sense only if production costs, including financial charges, are lower than that of India," PM's economic affairs adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman told a recent meeting.

He said Bangladesh has been incurring foreign debt to produce adequate electricity to meet the local demand.

The plan to export electricity to India during winter might also not be successful since the season overlaps in both countries, Mr Rahman cited.

"So, excess power in winter may not have a demand in India or any other regional country," he told the meeting held at the prime minister's office.

In August this year, a joint steering committee of the two neighbours discussed power export to strengthen bilateral electricity trade in future.

Against its total generation capacity of 18,446 megawatt (MW), Bangladesh produced 11,666MW in the evening peak last Tuesday.

The country planned to export surplus electricity since its overall electricity generation sometimes exceeds demand, officials said.

Data shows power generation costs in India now stand at 3.05 rupees equivalent to Tk 3.64 per unit.

On the other hand, Bangladesh spends Tk 6.25 on generating per-unit power.

Currently, it imports 1,160MW from India to meet local demand at the cost of more than Tk 6.0 per unit.

The country imports 1,000MW through Bheramara and 160MW through Tripura.

During off-peak hours of winter season, officials said, Bangladesh's volume of surplus electricity reaches almost two-thirds of the overall power generation capacity.

A good number of power plants have now remained idle due to low electricity demand in the country.

Moreover, the first unit of 1,320MW coal-fired power plant at Payra under Patuakhali district is likely to begin electricity generation by December this year.

The first unit will add 660MW of electricity to the national grid then, followed by the second unit in June next year, according to officials said.

syful-islam@outlook.com

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