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POWER
COAL
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Friday visited Dighipara Coal Mine site in Dinajpur to observe the feasibility study program going on there. Engr. Habib Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director of the Barapukria Coal Mining Company Ltd informed energynewsbd.com about the visit of the State Minister in Dighipara. Habib Uddin said Barapukria Coal Mining Company has been implementing the project ‘Feasibility Study for Development of Dighipara Coal Field’ with its own funding. Upon the implementation of the project, a total of three million ton coal will be extracted annually from there. The Managing Director said that Nasrul was informed about the ongoing activities under the project during his visit. He expressed satisfaction about the progress made there. The survey for the feasibility study of a potential mine in six square kilometer area of Dighipara is going on. If this mine is established here, it will be possible to extract about three million ton of coal annually from there which will account for producing 1250 MW of electricity. The State Minister was also informed about the condition of rail transport from Dighipara coal mine upto Jamuna River. Expressing satisfaction about the overall works going on there, Nasrul said, only survey is going on in the project site. Basing on the survey result, the direction of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is also in charge of energy ministry and the opinion and demand of the local people, decision for developing a mine here will be taken. During Nasrul’s visit, local lawmaker Md Shibli Sadique, Power Development Board Chairman Khaled Mahmud, Barapukria Coal Mining Company Managing Director Habib Uddin Ahmed, Company Secretary Md Abul Kasem Pradhania and Project Director Khan Md Zafor Sadiq were present. In May 30 this year, Barapurkria Coal Mining Company signed a contract with a joint consortium of German based MIBRAG Consulting International GmbH, FUGRO Consult GmbH and Australia based Runge Pincook Minaroo Limited for conducting a feasibility study there. As per the contract, survey for the feasibility study will be conducted there for a period of 27 month.   
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NUCLEAR
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the main construction work of the much-awaited Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the maiden nuclear plant of the country. She formally launched the main construction work of the plant by pouring concrete at the plant site at Rooppur in Ishwardi of northern Pabna district on Thursday. Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman, PM`s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman, Energy Adviser Dr Towfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Security Adviser Major General (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddiq, Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, PM`s Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Science and Technology Secretary Md Anwar Hossain, Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Ignatov, Russia`s state-run atomic energy body Rosatom`s Director General Alexey Likhachev, and project director of the plant Dr. Mohammad Shawkat Akbar and senior officials of Bangladesh and Russia were present on the occasion. The Rooppur plant is expected to add 2,400MW of electricity to the national grid by 2024, helping the country to meet an increasing demand for electricity. The mega project is being implemented by the state-run Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the Science and Technology Ministry, with financial, technical and technological support by Russia through its state nuclear agency, Rosatom. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) and Russian company, JSC Atomstroyexport, signed a general contract for construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) on December 25 in 2015. BAEC Chairman Md Monirul Islam and Vice President of Atomstroyexport Vladimir N Savuskhin signed the contract on behalf of their respective organisations. Atomostroyexport, the contractor appointed by Russia`s state-owned atomic power body , Rosatom, will construct the RNPP at a cost of $12.65 billion, out of which, $10.1 billion has been fixed as base price, $1 billion for soil stabilisation and further cost, and the remaining $1.65 billion for price escalation. On December 15 in 2015, the government finalised the amount for the biggest-ever investment project in the country`s history by inking an initial agreement with Russia. Earlier in January 2013, an inter-governmental agreement was signed for the provision of a $500 million Russian loan to finance engineering design, site development and personnel training. On November 2, 2011, Bangladesh signed a deal with Russia`s state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom to construct the nuclear plant. Russia will provide all assistance under the agreement for setting up the plant, including providing the fuel and taking back the used fuel. A total of 262 acres of land have been acquired to set up two units of the plant with a capacity of 2,400-MW. On October 2, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant at Ishwardi in Pabna.
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GAS
Gas price is likely to increase further in Bangladesh ahead of the next general election following the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as distribution companies have proposed raising prices of all categories except household and commercial ones. Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) will hold public hearing on the adjustment of gas prices. The hearing will begin on June 11 and continue until June 21, said a BERC notification issued on May 9. On June 11, public hearing on the Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) proposal for a transmission charge increase will be held. Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company will hold hearing on the proposal for a hike in distribution charge and consumer-level gas prices on June 13. Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited and Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution system limited will hold a hearing on June 14, Paschimanchal Gas Distribution Company Limited on June 18, Karnaphuli Gas Distribuntion Company Limited on June 19 and Sundarban Gas Distribution Company Limited on June 21. If the gas prices hike, transmission charge will be raised. The hike proposal by the Gas Transmission Company is being taken under consideration. LNG import supply to the country will begin in the last week of this month. Meanwhile, US based Excelerate Energy ship carrying LNG from Qatar RasGas has reached Bangladesh coast. According to the proposal, the price of per cubic metre gas used for grid power production has been proposed to be increased by 206 percent. The price of per cubic metre gas has been raised from Tk 3.16 to Tk 10.48. The price of per cubic metre gas used for captive power generation has been proposed to be raised by 66 percent. The price of gas has been increased from Tk 9.62 to Tk 16. The price of gas used for fertiliser production has been proposed to be shot up by 372 percent with an increase in prices of gas per cubic metre from Tk 2.71 to Tk 12.80. Besides, the price of gas used in industries has been proposed to be hiked by 93 percent with an increase in gas price per cubic metre from Tk 7.76 to Tk 14.90. The price of compressed natural gas (CNG) has been proposed to be gone up by 120 percent. The CNG price has been hiked from Tk 40 to Tk 48. Sources in the government said gas price is likely to be hiked following the high cost of LNG import. The government will not give a huge amount of subsidy on LNG import. It is mentioned that gas price was adjusted last February by 22.70 percent on an average. Now average price of per cubic metre gas price is Tk 7.35. At present, households pay Tk 750 for a single burner and Tk 800 for double burner every month.
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The Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh to strengthen energy cooperation between the two countries. Nepal and Bangladesh have been talking on bilateral energy cooperation since the power trade agreement (PTA) was signed with India in 2014. Nepal has identified Bangladesh as a prospective market for hydroelectricity, which is a clean and renewable source of energy. Following the SAARC member states agreement on ‘SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity)’ in November 2014, Nepal and Bangladesh have seen the prospects of bilateral power cooperation. Recently, Energy Minister Barshaman Pun also said that the government is preparing to sign an MoU on energy cooperation with Bangladesh through which the country can lure investment from Bangladesh to exploit Nepal’s hydro resources. However, to materialise power trade between the two nations, Nepal and Bangladesh need to hold talks with India. As there is power trade between Nepal and India, and also Bangladesh and India, power trade between Nepal and Bangladesh is not a far-fetched notion, according to Ambassador of Bangladesh to Nepal, Mashfee Binte Shams. Ambassador Shams said that both countries are preparing to sign an MoU on energy cooperation and they can enter into a power trade agreement, which is a more specific document. However, trilateral consensus is must for the PTA to be signed. There is prospect of energy trade between Nepal and Bangladesh as GMR Energy India has signed MoU to sell power produced from Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, which is going to be developed under Indian investment to Bangladesh. For this purpose, an initial MoU regarding connection agreement has already been signed with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) during the visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in April last year. Bangladesh’s current electricity generation stands at around 16,000 megawatts and it will require around 34,000 megawatts of power by 2030 to sustain the high economic growth of above seven per cent. As participating nations have envisioned providing access to sustainable, clean and affordable energy to their citizens by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals, Bangladesh has taken Nepal’s hydroelectricity as a reliable source for the rising demand of clean and reliable energy, as per Ambassador Shams.  Energy consumption is relatively low in South Asia as per capita energy consumption stands at 650 kilowatt hours (units) compared to global average energy consumption of 3000 kilowatt hours.  
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EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION
Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) has organised a CEO roundtable to promote energy efficient technologies in the textile and RMG sectors across Bangladesh. The CEO roundtable, has organised by IDCOL at its Head Office on March, 18 showcased the technology interventions related to energy efficiency measures in the RMG and textile sector of Bangladesh, said a press release. Top executives of the major textile and RMG companies were present in the roundtable. The roundtable has provided the participants with greater insights on emerging energy efficient measures implemented in Bangladesh as well as those considered as global best practices. The participants of the roundtable has opined that the growth of Bangladesh’s economy relies heavily on the RMG and textile industry, which employs around four million people. To compete successfully, firms must control their costs – while meeting ever stricter requirements for working conditions and environment friendly practices defined by international buyers. With rising cost of energy and depleting natural resources, the growth trajectory of Bangladesh textile and RMG industry can only be sustained by investing in smart energy efficient technologies. Adopting energy efficient technologies will also create quality jobs, attract important new investments, create new business opportunities and improve the quality of life. IDCOL, a development finance institution, is promoting energy efficiency initiatives in Bangladesh by offering low-cost long-term financing to eligible entrepreneurs up to 100% of the equipment value.
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TECHNOLOGY
High-efficiency, low-emission (HELE) coal-fired electricity generation technology will play a critical role in South-East Asia’s future economic prosperity and climate policies, according to a new report from ASEAN Centre for Energy and the World Coal Association (WCA). The new report confirms that HELE coal technology will provide affordable and reliable electricity to more than 600 million people in the region while dramatically reducing emissions. The report conducts a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of climate, energy and sustainable development policies in ASEAN nations, which are set to increase their electricity demand significantly in coming years. It finds that if ASEAN shifts its coal-fired power generation capacity to a modern, low emissions fleet by 2035, the region would reduce its cumulative emissions by 1.3 billion tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of the US, China and the European Union combined. The new report is consistent with other projections by leading energy analysts. A recent report from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies concluded that based on current national power plans, South East Asia’s coal capacity will reach 148 GW by 2025, a 139% increase on 2015. Coal will pass gas as South East Asia’s number one energy source before 2025, the OIES report concluded. ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions in the world with economic growth forecast to increase by over 6% per year.  Growth has already lifted millions from poverty and seen the number of people in the region without access to electricity halved over the past 20 years. The International Energy Agency predicts ASEAN’s energy demand will increase by 80 per cent over the period to 2040. To meet this demand, secure reliable electricity is required and the report confirms that low emission coal will be the generation of choice.  With the IEA forecasting coal to provide 50% of electricity generation by 2040, ASEAN nations are looking to utilise low-emission coal technology to deliver growth while also reducing emissions. The report confirms that all forms of coal generation will be the lowest cost option for ASEAN nations in 2020 and 2035.  The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) figures show that even ultra-supercritical coal generation will cost less than all renewable options and gas-fired power generation options. The report notes that “HELE reconciles international commitments to reduce carbon with the economic priorities of generating affordable and reliable electricity.”
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OPEC and non-member oil producers are gearing up to extend output cuts on Thursday, possibly by as long as 12 months, to help clear a global stocks overhang and prop up crude prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is to discuss in Vienna whether to prolong an accord reached in December in which it and 11 non-members agreed to cut oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017. Most OPEC ministers, delegates and the market see a nine-month extension - instead of the initially suggested six months - as the base-case scenario but some countries including Russia have suggested an unusually long duration of 12 months. "I think nine months is most likely," one OPEC delegate said. Four other delegates agreed it was the most probable outcome. OPEC`s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, and top non-OPEC producer Russia have said cuts need to be extended to speed up market rebalancing and prevent oil prices from sliding back below $50 per barrel. OPEC sources have said the Thursday meeting will also highlight the need for long-term cooperation with non-OPEC producers. The group could also send a message to the market that it will seek to curtail its oil exports, which have not declined as steeply as its production. However, a decision on deeper output cuts is unlikely on Thursday, sources have said. By 0725 GMT, Brent crude was trading up almost 1 percent, above $54.40 a barrel. OPEC`s cuts have helped push oil back above $50 a barrel this year, giving a fiscal boost to producers, many of which rely heavily on energy revenues and have had to burn through foreign-currency reserves to plug holes in their budgets. Oil`s earlier price decline, which started in 2014, forced Russia and Saudi Arabia to tighten their belts and led to unrest in some producing countries including Venezuela and Nigeria. "Russia has an upcoming election and Saudis have the Aramco share listing next year so they will indeed do whatever it takes to support oil prices," said Gary Ross, head of global oil at PIRA Energy, a unit of S&P Global Platts. The price rise this year has spurred growth in the U.S. shale industry, which is not participating in the output deal, thus slowing the market`s rebalancing with global stocks still near record highs. OPEC has a self-imposed goal of bringing stocks down from a record high of 3 billion barrels to their five-year average of 2.7 billion. Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa told Reuters on Wednesday he believed that inventories should normalise by the end of 2017.
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Twenty-sixteen saw a "dramatic" decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction globally. The authors of a new study say there was a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts. The report, from several green campaign groups, claims changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline. However, the coal industry argues the fuel will remain essential to economic growth in Asia for decades to come. Rapid swing Between 2006 and 2016, India and China together accounted for 85% of the coal plants built around the world. But according to the Boom and Bust 2017 report, put together by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, there has been a huge swing away from coal in these two countries in just 12 months. The main causes of the decline are the imposition of restrictive measures by China`s central government - with the equivalent of 600 coal-fired units being put on hold until at least 2020. The Indian go-slow was prompted, according to the authors, by the reluctance of banks to provide funds. Work at 13 locations is currently not going ahead. However, there have also been significant retirements of coal plants in Europe and the US over the past two years, with roughly 120 large units being taken out of commission. "This has been a messy year, and an unusual one," said Ted Nace, director of CoalSwarm. "It`s not normal to see construction frozen at scores of locations, but central authorities in China and bankers in India have come to recognize overbuilding of coal plants as a major waste of resources. "However abrupt, the shift from fossil fuels to clean sources in the power sector is a positive one for health, climate security, and jobs. And by all indications, the shift is unstoppable." The study comes as other groups analyse the potential for investments in coal to become stranded assets if governments continue to restrict CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that hundreds of billions of dollars could be at risk. "The decline in new coal plants in Asian countries is truly dramatic, and shows how a perfect storm of factors is simply making coal a bad investment," said Paul Massara, now of North Star Solar but a former CEO of RWE npower. "Growing awareness of the air pollution problems coal causes, the impact of policies to tackle climate change, and the rapid growth and cost-competitiveness of renewable sources of energy, along with emerging battery technologies, are making new coal plants redundant before they are even built," he said. However, the World Coal Association vehemently disagrees. It says the complexity of large infrastructure projects means that until they break ground, it`s no surprise if they don`t go ahead. "Yes, China, is reducing the number of coal-stations but not because it`s transitioning away from coal. Instead, the new dynamics is a signal of a more developed economy," said Benjamin Sporton. "Contrary to the picture being portrayed by certain quarters, China`s climate pledge suggests that coal will continue to be central to its energy solutions, albeit through efficiencies including the use of new coal technologies. "In India`s case, it`s simply not true that renewables are displacing coal. The International Energy Agency has said that India`s coal demand will see the biggest growth over next five years with an annual average growth rate of 5% by 2021. "For these countries, excluding coal from the energy mix is not an option; it is essential for economic growth and critical in securing energy access." According to the authors of the study, the slowdown brings the possibility of keeping global warming under 2 degrees C since pre-industrial times "within feasible reach." However, the study says that much more progress needs to be made to reduce the number of coal-fired plants under development in Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and elsewhere.
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