The government is set to allow five coal-fired power plants to convert to the LNG-fired ones as it has completed a review of future coal-run power projects.
The proposed coal plants have the total generation capacity of 5,175 megawatt (MW).
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has made the review this week and recommended scrapping five other coal-powered plants having 4,171MW capacity in toto.
The proposed plants for conversion include Patuakhali 1,320MW plant of Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL) and Moheshkhali 1,320MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired thermal power plant of state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board.
Others are 1,200MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant of the joint venture of Japanese Sumitomo and state-run Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Ltd (CPGCBL), 700MW Bangladesh-Singapore coal-fired power plant and Gazaria 635MW plant.
The coal plants that might be scrapped include Uttarbanga 1,200MW super-thermal plant of APSCL, Maowa 522MW plant of Orion Power Ltd, Dhaka 282MW plant of Orion Power and Associates, Matarbari 1,200MW ultra-supercritical thermal power plant of CPGCBL and 1,200MW plant of the BPDB-TNB Malaysia joint venture.
Officials said the PMO has considered scrapping some coal plants and conversion of some others to LNG-fired ones, considering environmental aspects and the future demand for electricity.
Currently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the chairperson of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
Sources said power plant sponsors and state power entities would discuss further to implement the power plants that have been recommended for conversion.
Last year, power division sought suggestion of the PM, also in charge of power, energy and mineral resources ministry, over the fate of under-construction and proposed coal-based plant projects.
The widening gap between overall power generation capacity and demand, and environmental concerns pushed the government to review the status of such plants and make necessary decisions for their future.
According to the BPDB, the countrywide power generation during daytime peak hours on June 23 was around 9,884MW and around 12,106MW during evening peak against 21,060MW overall power generation capacity.
Three coal-fuelled power plant projects are currently in operation in Bangladesh.
Of them, one 1,244MW plant with two 622MW units of Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between the state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Ltd and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, is running almost half its capacity for power evacuation bottlenecks.
The remaining 525MW Barapukuria coal-fired power plant, having a total of three units, is generating only 150MW, or less than one third of its capacity.
The government, however, has a target to generate around 10,000MW power from the coal plants by 2030.
The under-construction plants include the first phase of Matarbari 1,200MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired thermal power plant, Chattogram 1,224MW plant, Barisal 307MW plant and Jharkhand 1,600MW plant of Indian Adani Power Ltd.
Others are Maitree 1,320MW super-thermal power plant of Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd at Rampal, Payra 1,320MW thermal plant of Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd and Patuakhali 1,320MW plant of Rural Power Company Ltd-Norinco International Power Ltd.
These plants have already completed work ranging between 16 per cent and 52 per cent, said sources.
The government also initiated to revisit the Power System Master Plan (PSMP) within years by 2021.
The review of coal plants also came in line with the recommendation of a high-powered government committee to pause the approval process of new plants.
It stated that existing power plants, including those under construction, were enough to meet the country's electricity demand over the next one decade.
The committee, headed by state-run Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain, revealed that the demand would be an estimated 29,619MW by 2030 with the efficient use of energy.
The current PSMP projected the power demand at 40,000MW by 2030.