India power saves Bangladesh Tk 40bn a year

    The 500 MW power from India will save Tk 40 billion a year for Bangladesh, a former Indian power secretary has said.


    RV Shahi said on Saturday that the average power price a year –Tk 6/kwhr– would be Tk 10 less than the price of Bangladesh’s current liquid fuel driven power

    “500MW means about 4,000 million units of power a year,” he said at a seminar in Dhaka.

    India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (IBCCI) and Indian High Commission in Dhaka jointly organised the seminar on “investment in Bangladesh” with a special session on power.

    The power from India began to flow in Oct last year when the Baharampur-Bheramara cross-border power transmission link got connected.

    Jointly with India, Bangladesh is also implementing a 1320MW coal-fired power plant at Rampal.

    The former Indian power secretary stressed on bilateral and sub-regional cooperation for power generation as, he said, Bangladesh must diversify its sources of power generation.

    Currently Bangladesh depends heavily on gas and a quarter of power comes from highly priced liquid fuel that increases the power price.

    RV Shahi said coal-based power plant would be needed for “sustainable solutions” of the power.

    He said 57 percent of the India’s total power comes from coal while it is 35 percent in UK, 41 percent in Germany, 67 percent in China.

    “It (coal-based) is 2.5 percent in Bangladesh.”

    Coal exploration faces protest in Bangladesh, mostly from left-leaning politicians. The new coal-based Rampal power plant project also faced stiff protest.

    Bangladesh’s Power Secretary Monwar Islam said the government had decided to use imported coal for the Rampal plant.

    “Its prime minister’s decision,” he said and that the Premier took the decision considering Bangladesh’s density of population and arable land.

    Professor of Petroleum at Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology Dr M Tamim, however, strongly suggested the government to use domestic coal while speaking at the seminar.

    However, Shahi did not see it a problem as of now. “It was not entertained to talk about coal-based power in Bangladesh even in 2009, until it was realised that those would be needed for long term solutions”.

    “Even imported coal would be cheaper than the liquid fuel driven power even though it would not be cheaper than domestic coal,” he said.

    Once started, he said, better awareness would be created. “And in the meantime mindset of the society, policymakers and also regulators would be changed”.

    “Then the use of domestic coal would not be a problem”.

    The 39,000 MW power by 2030, as mentioned in Bangladesh’s Power System Master Plan 2010, would be generated: domestic coal based 11,250 MW, imported coal 8,400 MW, domestic gas 8,850 MW, nuclear 4,000 MW, regional grid 3,500, and oil, hydro and renewable combined 2,700 MW.

    Shahi, however, said hydro-power could have a prospective “sub-regional energy market” if Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan power grids got connected.

    “Bhutan is already connected with India. Nepal is also connected and it is going to be strengthened. We have connected India and Bangladesh,” he said.

    He said India has 150,000 MW hydro potentials while it is now producing 40,000. Nepal has prospect of 83,000 MW hydro but they produce less than 1,000 MW.

    “If we have strong grid connecting these countries, then it will be possible (sub-regional energy market),” he said.

    Senior Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad said the Premier was also emphasising on sub-regional cooperation.

    He said the next meeting of the Bangladesh-India-Bhutan, and Bangladesh-India-Nepal joint working group would be held next month.

    Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran said he was finding interest among Indian investors to invest in Bangladesh in different sectors including power and infrastructure.

    But he said it would require some “extra effort” as India was not a capital surplus economy like western countries.

    Some 284 Indian projects are currently registered at Bangladesh Board of Investment with a prospect of $3 billion investment and more than 57,000 potential employment opportunities.

    Source :