Bangladesh holds huge intact coal energy

Bangladesh holds huge intact coal energy

As uncertainty clouds the mining of county”s abundant wealth of coal, government has missed a deadline for doubling the current volume of power by generating an additional 4,000 megawatts of electricity under a master plan, reports UNB.

Eight new power plants, having a total 4,000MW capacity, were planned for setting up by 2005 as per the Power System Master Plan (PSMP).

The government recently upgraded the PSMP, prepared ten years back, placing a special thrust on the use of domestic coal in power plants, as experts say Bangladesh holds intact a cache of coal energy double the recoverable reserve of gas. Taking a long view of the scenario of a fast-growing demand of power and scanty supply, the PSMP 2005 also conceived a mega-plan for producing about 20500MW additional electricity in 20 years from 2005 to 2025 by setting up 30 new plants.

Of the plants, eight or more would be installed in the country”s north and northeastern regions to meet the demand for electricity, growing at a galloping rate of 7 percent.In the PSMP, the continuous dependence on gas has been discouraged. Rather it emphasizes concentrating on coal use in firing power plants as an alternative source of fuel.

“In the present gas scenario, we assume that 4,000-MW-capacity new power plants ought to be developed using domestic coal. In order to achieve that goal, development beyond what is planned for Barapukuria and Phulbari would be needed,” it is stated in the plan concept paper.

According to the National Energy Policy 2004, country”s total coal reserve is 2527 million tons in four fields–492 million tons recoverable from the reserves. This recoverable coal reserve is equivalent to 14 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.Among the fields, Barapukuria holds in its womb 300 million tons, Phulbari 400 million tons, Jamalganj has a cache of 1000 million tons and 450-million-ton coal is in deposit in Khalaspir area.

As regards the other wealth of fossil fuel, the country at present has a proven reserve 8.39 trillion cubic feet of gas as 6.8 tcf has already been extracted in last 50 years from the original reserve of 15.19 tcf in 22 gas fields. Gas exploration and extraction, however, emerged as a potential industry only recently with international oil giants putting stakes on the new-found business. This means the coal reserves-still intact, though the Barapukuria mine has done its trial operation–is about double the present stock of gas in terms of energy content. “But development of the country”s coal sector remained ignored by the policymakers despite its huge prospects,” one expert told UNB staff writer Sadrul Hasan.

Developing the other large three fields still remains clouded in uncertainty, while people continued to be vexed by nagging power outages for long.

The power-sector experts believe that if the coal sector continued to get the lukewarm attention from the policymakers, implementation of the country”s future plan of setting up 4,000-MW coal-based power plants in the northern region would remain a far cry.

Former Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Chairman ANM Rizwan said all the future power plants in the country, particularly in the northern region, should be set up on dual-fuel system of using coal and gas for the sake of better energy security.


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