CPD to govt: Consider downward revision of power generation plan

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It suggests renegotiating with donor agencies, investors to transform coal-fired projects into renewable plants

Local think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has suggested that the government go for a downward revision of the existing Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016, as the existing overcapacity of power generation stands at 37%.

“In our calculation, it will be 47% in 2041. It many even go up to 50% at that time when the country’s generation will reach 60,000MW as per PSMP,” Dr Moazzem Hossain, director of CPD, told a briefing on ‘Abandoning Coal in Power Generation: Govt’s Initiative and Some Suggestions’ on Monday.

CPD urged the government to move for increasing the stake of renewable energy in the PSMP, putting extra emphasis on this alternative source of energy.

It also urged the government to take immediate initiative to renegotiate with the donor agencies and investors of coal-fired power plants to transform their projects into renewable energy ones.

The think-tank said the existing plans reveal 35% power generation will come from imported LNG (liquefied natural gas), some 35% from imported coal, 15% from renewable energy, 10% from nuclear energy, and 5% from petroleum oil.

CPD Executive Director Dr Famida Khatun and distinguished fellow Dr Mustafizur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.  

Dr Moazzem said a maximum 15% overcapacity as reserve margin is kept as standard in power generation in developing countries while Bangladesh keeps it 25%.

“This is unrealistic,” he said. “But that limit has crossed now and it has been creating a huge cost-burden on the state.”

He said the government has already started thinking to revise the PSMP and contemplating to stop implementing some coal power plants now in pipeline. Prime minister’s approval was sought for abandoning the 22 coal-based power plants having 23,236MW capacity.

“This is a good initiative. But the government is thinking about setting up LNG-based power plants as an alternative to coal-fired plants, which is not a pragmatic solution from the cost and environment point of view,” he said.

Focus on renewable energy

Moazzam said the government should move for renewable energy projects, especially solar power, as the cost of it is coming down fast and it has already been proven to be least costly with its growing efficiency level.

“Now solar power’s efficiency level is found to be 47% in laboratory test. In future the efficiency will increase further,” he said.

The CPD director said the government has taken a number of solar projects but only few of them were implemented while 1,552MW power is planned to be generated from renewable energy by 2041.

He said Bangladesh, as a chairman of Climate Vulnerable Forum, made a commitment to generate 100% electricity from renewable energy by 2050.

The government’s current policy-priority does not support any idea that such commitment will be achievable.

“For renewable energy, there must be priority policy-support from the government which is now absent,” he said.

He said there is Sustainable and Renewable Energy Authority (Sreda) responsible for renewable energy promotion.

“But Sreda is structurally very weak and it has to be strengthened, giving it more authority to achieve success in renewable energy,” he said, adding that the land scarcity is a big impediment in Bangladesh for solar energy.

“After 20 years, this will not be an issue as the same solar panel will produce triple electricity by increasing its capacity,” he said.

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