State Minister Nasrul Hamid claims that 7,000MW is not a big surplus in power generation
Dhaka city alone consumes 46% of the electricity Bangladesh produces, while the remaining amount is consumed by the rest of the country.
Disclosing the data, State Minister for Power and Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Saturday this is not only a difficult situation, but also a dangerous one.
“We’ve to generate power in northern and southern regions of the country and bring it to Dhaka spending huge money,” he told a webinar titled “Sustainable Development of Energy-Power Sector and Budget for FY 2021-22”.
The virtual seminar, organised by the Energy and Power magazine, was also addressed by economist Dr Ahsan H Mansur, eminent energy expert Dr M Tamim, Summit Group Chairman Mohammad Aziz Khan, former NBR Chairman Dr Mohammad Abdul Mazid, and former president of Dhaka Chamber Abul Kasem Khan.
Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain presented the keynote paper at the seminar conducted by magazine editor Mollah Amzad Hossain.
Noting that no major infrastructure is being developed in other areas of the country, Nasrul Hamid said the industrial sector failed to consume as much electricity as expected.
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Dismissing a claim made by economists that there is a big surplus in power production, he said now the country’s highest consumption is 15,000MW of electricity while the actual demand is 17,000MW and the generation is 24,000MW-plus. “Some 7,000MW is not a big surplus in power generation.”
Hamid said the technology in power generation is changing fast and the country may not require in the future to install any new power plant.
“So, we should go for short-term planning of between two and five years,” he said, adding that a big change is coming in power sector planning as the Power Division has already made a review in consultation with the prime minister.
He said many coal-fired plants which were not implemented will be left out. “This review will be reflected in the next Power System Master Plan.”
The state minister said the import of LNG has been most viable so far in primary energy while it is being mixed up with locally-produced gas as the imported coal is not suitable for the country although the government has to give Tk4,000 crore annually to import LNG.
He mentioned that the newly developed Pyara power plant is facing a big difficulty in importing coal for its operation while more than 10 percent is not feasible to extract from the local coal mines.
Dr Ahsan H Mansur said the country should not depend only on imported LNG as a single source of primary fuel.
“Instead, there should be a strategic planning to diversify the source of primary fuel, even looking for an option of importing power from Nepal and Bhutan,” he added.
Dr M Tamim said energy efficiency and conservation issues should get the highest priority now as there is huge scope for working on it.
He said Bangladesh should look for more renewable energy options as the whole world is not concentrating on it as a future source of energy.
Mohammad Aziz Khan, however, differed with the idea of renewable options saying that it would be logical to look into these options as the country has no adequate land for solar power. “And what will happen to the windmills when a cyclone hits the country?”
Dr Mohammad Abdul Mazid said the government has invested huge money for the improvement of the power sector but the expected return is not coming to the national exchequer as a huge amount of tax remained unpaid by the power sector entities.
“If the power sector entities had paid the unpaid money the national budget deficit would not go up to that huge amount,” he added.