Staff Correspondent: The government has been making all out strides to light up the country’s all households as well as ensure uninterrupted, quality and affordable electricity supply for the people by “Mujib Borsho” (Mujib Year), marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“The present government led by honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set a target of illuminating all houses of the country by Mujib Borsho and it (government) is working relentlessly to achieve the goal,” State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told yesterday.
“We’re pledge-bound to fulfill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s firm commitment to reach electricity to all households and ensure uninterrupted, affordable and quality power supply for the countrymen by the Mujib Borsho,” he added.
Hamid informed that thanks to sincere efforts of the authorities concerned, power generation capacity of the country has reached 23,436-MW and as a result, 97 percent people are now enjoying the benefits of electricity.
He said his ministry got Tk 26,758 crore budget for FY2020-21 for implementing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to reach electricity to all households.
Director General of Power Cell Engineer Mohammad Hossain said the government has been working untiringly to raise power capacity to 24,000 MW by 2021.
He said currently the work on construction of 48 power plants with a combined production capacity of 16,875-MW is going on, while a process is underway for signing contracts to set up 12 power plants with a generation capacity of 2,785-MW.
According to the ministry officials, tender process for six power plants having production capacity of 650-MW is underway, while a plan has been taken to build 16 more power plants with 19,100- MW capacity in near future.
They said the government has set a target to generate 28,000-MW electricity and construct 23,000 circuit kilometers transmission lines across the country by 2023. The country has now 12,283 circuit km and 5,64,000 km distribution lines.
Presently the country has 137 power plants, of which six were shut down. The government has been working on raising the country’s power generation capacity to 60,000-MW by 2041.
The officials said in the last decade, the government signed several deals for setting up 148 power plants having production capacity of 29,648-MW. Of which, 121 power plants were commissioned adding 15,573MW power to the national grid. The generation capacity was only 3,200-MW in 2009.
“We’ve an aim to ensure uninterrupted power supply to every citizen at affordable prices by 2021 and the country’s power generation capacity will stand at 40,00-MW by 2030, while it will go up 60,000MW by 2041,” Nasrul said.
Pointing out that Bangladesh has become an ideal place for foreign investment, the state minister said the investment situation here is now far better than before. “So, various countries are showing their interest in investing in the country’s power sector,” he said.
The ministry data showed that the government has been implementing a number of mega projects including Rampal Power Plant having 1,320-MW, Matarbari with 1,200-MW and Payra with a generation capacity of 1,320-MW in the sector.
“Steps have been taken to construct coal-based power plants having 10,000-MW generation capacity in Maheskhali in joint venture along with setting up of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-based power plants. Construction of 2,400 MW Nuclear Power Plant in Ruppur is also progressing well,” Mohammad Hossain said.
Besides, 1,160-MW power is being imported from neighbouring India under regional and sub-regional cooperation, while an MoU was signed with Nepal under bilateral energy trade, and negotiation has been finalised to import 500-MW electricity from an IPP.
The government is giving emphasis to solar energy-based electricity aimed at enhancing contribution of renewable energy to 10 percent of total power generation. Current power generation capacity from renewable sources is 630.96-MW.
Meanwhile, the government has taken up plans to install roof-top solar panels at every educational institution. In addition, electricity is being provided to people living in off-grid areas through 58 lakh solar home systems, according to the proposed budget for FY2020-21.
It said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated full electrification of 257 upazillas, while another 153 upazillaswait for opening.
The government has taken short, medium and long-term gas exploration plans in both land and sea areas to increase gas production.
After gaining the new maritime boundary, Bangladesh has framed Onshore Model PSC 2019 and Offshore Model PSC 2019 to start new rounds of bidding for blocks in onshore and offshore areas.
Apart from this, the government has been installing pre-paid gas meters to prevent gas wastage, and 2,60,000 pre-paid meters have already been set up in Dhaka city and Chattogram region.
The government has also planned to set up a land-based LNG Terminal at Matarbari with a 1,000 mmcfd, and its work like the feasibility study and the terminal developer selection is currently under progress.
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