• Monday, Nov 19, 2018
  • Last Update : 02:42 am

No sign of candles, lamps as Bangladesh reaches 11,000MW feat

  • Published at 01:48 am August 4th, 2018
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The government has a target to raise the power generation capacity to 24,000MW and 40,000MW in 2021 and 2030Syed Zakir Hossain Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The previous highest generation of electricity was 10,958MW, recorded on May 28, which followed the maiden 10,000MW generation on March 19

Even a decade ago, it was a must to have candles or a lamp at home since power outages were so common. 

The problem was particularly acute in remote rural areas, where it was normal for those people who could boast of electricity connectivity to be deprived of power for half the day. 

But things started to change after the Awami League assumed office in 2009, making the experiences of frequent blackouts merely a history, thanks to the timely and effective measures taken up by the government.

The latest example of the success story in the power sector is achieving the 11,000MW feat recently.

As soon as the clock struck 8pm, Bangladesh witnessed a record 11,059MW power generation in a landmark feat in the country’s history. 

The previous highest generation of electricity was 10,958MW, recorded on May 28, which followed the maiden 10,000MW generation on March 19.

Earlier on June 30, 2016, power generation for the very first time crossed the 9,000MW mark. 

Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) sources confirmed the development and said the demand for electricity was matched by the power that was generated on July 7.

The latest highest power generation (11,059 MW) is 2.58 times higher than what was produced after the Awami League-led government began its second term. 

Back on September 18, 2009, the highest electricity generation amounted to 4,296MW.

Since then, the country’s power sector kept on registering an upward trend on generation, clearly illustrating that power generation is booming every year.

The highest generation in 2017 was 9,011MW, while the figure stood at 7,485MW, 5,791MW, 5,754MW and 4,711MW in the previous four years.

During a parliament session in June last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh achieved 61% of its entire power generation capacity since 2009. 

In March, PDB claimed that around 80% people of the country have access to electricity, up from 47% several years back. 

There are 121 power units across eight regions including Dhaka and Chittagong, with a generation capacity of 15,410MW. But at least 22 of the units remain closed due to technical glitches and fuel crisis.

 

The government has a target to raise the power generation capacity to 24,000MW and 40,000MW in 2021 and 2030. It is also aiming to bring the country under full electricity coverage by 2021.   

However, a top government official recently said the PDB is likely to do the job by next December.

Md Abul Kalam Azad, the principal coordinator of SDG Affairs at Prime Minister’s Office, on June 27, said Bangladesh is expecting more private investment for artificial intelligence and smart grid technology as the PDB is eyeing 100% electricity coverage by the end of this year.

According to him, currently 90% population of the country is under the coverage of electricity when Bangladesh’s power generation capacity stands at 16,000MW with per capita consumption being just 450kW per hour. 

Recently, Power Division Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said the country saw significant improvement in the power sector due to some “dynamic decisions” taken by the government. 

The changes could not have been possible if there were no such moves, he said giving credit to several laws including the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) (Amendment) Act, 2014, and Power and Energy Fast Supply Enhancement (Special Provision) Act, 2010.

Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain recently said at an event that currently 59 projects with a 14,434MW power generation capacity are under construction.

Sources at the power division said 16 power plants with a combined 6,707MW capacity from the government sector and another 18 plants with 4,656MW capacity from the private sector are being constructed, with the purpose of continuing the electricity generation spree. 

Government eyeing more investment

With a view to implementing the plans designed for the power sector, the government is looking for more investment from both home and abroad. 

Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, prime minister’s adviser on power, energy and mineral resources, said they are planning to generate 60,000MW electricity by 2041, since Bangladesh is heading towards the feat of a developed nation by then.

Stating that Bangladesh may have to face financial and technical challenges in this regard, he said the government is keen to have more investment from the private sector.

“A fresh guideline for power sector is being developed, with the aim to facilitate investors,” said Power Cell chief Mohammad Hossain, adding that the government is also planning to have 100% smart grid and pre-paid metering coverage by 2021.

Meanwhile, Md Abul Kalam Azad, the principal coordinator of SDG Affairs at the PMO, echoing the same, said Bangladesh is expecting more private investment for artificial intelligence and smart grid technology since they are vital to make the government’s plan over the sector a success.