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23 January 2012

DHAKA, BANGLADESH – UNICON shortlisted for Asian Development Bank funded Power System Efficiency Improvement Project II in Bangladesh.

Energy shortage is considered as one of the most critical infrastructure constraints on Bangladesh’s economic development. In 2011, the maximum demand for electricity is 6,000 megawatt (MW), which is expected to rise to 7,000 MW by 2013. But the maximum available generation is 4,500-4,750 MW (from an installed capacity of 5,719 MW), leaving a significant supply gap. The main causes for the supply shortage are (i) the poor operational efficiency of thermal power plants and inefficient use of energy; (ii) inadequate supplies of natural gas, which is the primary source of energy for electricity generation (about 80% of generation capacity is based on natural gas); (iii) slow progress on cross-border energy cooperation and trade; and (iv) lack of diversification in energy supply, including inadequate development of renewable energy.

The Government of Bangladesh’s declared vision for the power sector in 2010 is to eliminate load shedding at the earliest possible and to make electricity available to all by 2021. The government estimated that realizing this vision would require an additional 9,000 MW of generating capacity installed by the end of 2015. Of this, 5,400 MW of generation capacity is expected to be added by the private sector. Since the declaration of this policy, 586 MW of generating capacity has been added to the system and additional approvals have been granted for new power plants. Other initiatives aim to diversify energy sources include development of coal resources, renewable energy, and cross-border cooperation for energy trade. Adequate transmission and distribution facilities would also be developed to compliment power generation expansion to increase access to electricity.

The proposed project – Power System Efficiency Improvement II – will address three key areas in the electricity supply sector. They are: improving energy use efficiency of thermal power plants, improving the transmission network capacity, and expanding the renewable energy base. The project interventions will include: (i) conversion of power plants at Siddhirganj, Baghabari, and Khulna to combine cycle power plants; (ii) construction of 180 km 132 kV transmission lines and four 133/32 kV substations; (iii) installation of solar irrigation water pumps; and (iv) capacity development for solar powered irrigation and power plant management.

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