The government is constructing a 1,320 MW coal fired power plant at Rampal, Bagerhat to meet up the ever increasing electricity demand of our country.
Aside from meeting the electricity demand, this mega power plant will also create a huge employment opportunity for the local people.
However, this plant which is being constructed near Sundarbans, a world heritage site, has instigated several debates and posed various challenges among several quarters.
Under the circumstances, Editor of energynewsbd.com Aminur Rahman interviewed U K Bhattacharya, Managing Director of Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL), the implementing agency of the plant and talked about several issues with him.
energynewsbd.com: What is present status of your company as well as 1,320 Maitree Super Thermal Power Project?
U K Bhattacharya: Notice of award has been issued on January 31, 2016 to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for the main plant Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) turnkey package.
The activities for financial closure are in progress. As far as site works are concerned, land development for main plant area completed, boundary wall constructed and construction power supply at 33 kV available at site.
“This is the largest power project and one of the largest infrastructure projects in Bangladesh requiring huge fund making it a challenging task from financing and project management point of view.”
Initial infrastructure like access road, office cum residential complex, store, security watch tower, gate, etc. are in various stages of completion. RO water plant commissioned for drinking water purpose.
The EPC main plant work shall start immediately after financial closure. However, all out efforts are being made to achieve financial closure within seven months.
energynewsbd.com: What are the major challenges to set up in this project?
U K Bhattacharya: This is the largest power project and one of the largest infrastructure projects in Bangladesh requiring huge fund making it a challenging task from financing and project management point of view.
The local site conditions like poor soil condition, high rainfall and high wind velocity make this Hi-tech project an engineering challenge.
Coal will be transported through sea and the Pussur river channel. Non-availability of adequate, experienced and skilled manpower, construction material and machinery in Bangladesh make it even more challenging to construct and manage the project within time and budget.
energynewsbd.com: What are the preventive measures you have undertaken for environmental pollutions from the power plant?
U K Bhattacharya: Maitree Project is located at a safe distance from Sundarbans (14 km). The nearest heritage site of Sundarbans is situated beyond 69 kilometers from the power plant.
Further, wind direction being predominantly away from the Sundarbans, acts as a natural shield to the Sundarbans. On top of that BIFPCL is voluntarily following the stringent World Bank/IFC environment standards to make it an environment friendly project.
The following are some of the technical measures adopted for protection/conservation of environment:
• Modern and efficient supercritical technology with high steam temperature and pressure. This will reduce coal consumption and green house gas emission.
• Imported coal of high calorific value, low sulphur and low ash content will be used.
• Provision of completely covered coal storage yard and enclosed conveyors.
• Advanced burner design for reduction of NOx levels.
• Very High efficiency ESP (99.9%) for dust control and filtration.
• Provision of flue gas desulphurization system to further arrest air borne pollution and SOx.
• 275-meter (more than 900 ft) high chimney.
• 100% utilisation of ash.
• Closed water recycle system with modern cooling tower technology will be used.
• Large scale afforestation will be done to improve the natural ambience and provide carbon-sink.
• Environment management plan will be implemented to ensure environmental safeguard.
energynewsbd.com: After completion of this project, will there be any negative impact on inhabitants, Sundarbans and ecology?
U K Bhattacharya: As the project is located at a safe distance from Sundarbans and the aforesaid stringent technical measures being adopted to make the project environment friendly, we do not foresee any negative impact on inhabitants, Sundarbans and ecology from the Project.
energynewsbd.com: What kind of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities you have undertaken from your company for the locals welfare?
U K Bhattacharya: A medical facility is already operational at site for almost two years now. Besides, free consultation, medicines are also given to visiting locals, free of cost.
We have started felicitating the meritorious students from the nearby schools and colleges by giving them prizes etc. to encourage them for further academic achievements.
We are planning to undertake other CSR activities, in consultation with government of Bangladesh from time to time to benefit the local population as well as nature.
We are looking at the possibility of sponsoring a project, in association with BPDB/Govt. of Bangladesh for benefits of wildlife in the Sundarbans.
Also, a fund will be created by fixing 3 paisa levy from per unit generation of power from this coal based power plant.
This fund (estimated Tk 27 crore per annum) will be utilized for the welfare and socio-economic development of local people in and around the project areas.
energynewsbd.com: What is your view about the ongoing protest against this power project?
U K Bhattacharya: As explained earlier, the project will be environment friendly and will not harm the Sundarbans.
By creating growth opportunities in the surrounding area, the project would rather reduce the dependence of local population on Sundarbans for their livelihoods. This will automatically help conserving Sundarbans.
energynewsbd.com: As a new company what types of Human Resource Policies will be undertaken by your company?
U K Bhattacharya: As a modern and progressive company we are committed to be an “Equal opportunity company with humane approach”. This will be the corner stone of our HR policy.
In the areas of talent management as well as fair compensation we will be the best in the industry and will be comparable to reputed multinational companies of similar nature.
Our focus shall be on development of dedicated and motivated team of professionals who would efficiently drive the company forward.
energynewsbd.com: What kind of technologies would be used to set up this power plant?
U K Bhattacharya: Modern Supercritical Technology with high efficiency has been selected to provide reliable and affordable power in an environment friendly way.
Steam Temperature- upto 600 deg. C
Steam Pressure- upto 270 Bar
This technology increases efficiency and reduces the quantity of coal burning requirement per unit of electricity output.
It will produce much lesser greenhouse gas (CO2) as compared to many available technologies in Coal based thermal power generation.
Besides, the latest state of the art automation technology is being adopted for high performance.
|“The first unit will come into generation by December, 2019 and second unit after six months thereafter. However, BIFPCL is looking at the possibility to compress the schedule for early generation.”
energynewsbd.com: What would be the reflections of people’s hopes and aspirations for the development of their livelihoods from this power plant?
U K Bhattacharya: A fund will be created by fixing 3 paisa levy from per unit generation of power from this coal based power plant.
This fund will be utilized for the welfare and socio-economic development of local people in and around the project areas.
Socio-economic Benefits from this project:
- Employment opportunities for the people in the region;
- Infrastructure development in the region;
- Improve communication facilities;
- Health Securities for the local population
- Urbanization and quality of life improvement for local people;
- Market development and value chain facilities.
energynewsbd.com: When this project is expected to come into generation of power?
U K Bhattacharya: First generating unit shall be synchronized within 41 months from financial closure and commercial generation shall start soon thereafter.
The first unit will come into generation by December, 2019 and second unit after six months thereafter. However, BIFPCL is looking at the possibility to compress the schedule for early generation.