The government plans to bring the entire population under electricity coverage by 2021
Bangladesh’s daily power production capacity has increased three-fold in the last nine years indicating robust growth in the sector, but experts say there is more room to improve.
After the Awami League government took office for the second time, the highest production was recorded at 3,268 megawatt on June 6, 2009. After nearly a decade, the country managed to produce 11,059MW – the highest in Bangladesh’s history so far – on July 12, reports Bangla Tribune.
Power cuts nowadays are at a tolerable level, although there are some irregularities in the distribution while the supply of electricity to industries has improved.
Experts say the government has to tackle regular load shedding in summer. This year’s power production projection hints that the people will not suffer like the past years for electricity.
Power Development Board (PDB) member Sayeed Ahmed said: “We are increasing the production according to demand this summer. Power production will rise by at least 1,200MW in April and May. It will help keep the electricity production stable during summer.”
Last year, the highest daily production was recorded at 9,011MW on November 18. In 2016, the highest daily production was 7,485MW, recorded on June 30.
Universal coverage by 2021
The government plans to bring the entire population under electricity coverage within the next three years.
A total of 4,676MW will be added to the national grid this year, 4,833MW in 2019, 4,072MW the following year, and 3,047MW the next year. Of this, 8,293MW will come from the public sector and 7,495MW from the private sector.
“The mega strategies taken by the incumbent government will ensure that everyone will have access to electricity within 2021,” Power Development Board (PDB) Chairman Khaled Mahmood said. “A number of big power plants will go into production this year as part of the long-term strategy.”
The PDB chairman said three coal-fired plants are under construction at Matarabari, Rampal and Payra. They have a combined generating capacity of 1,320MW.
“The government is working to provide electricity to every household,” said Nasrul Hamid, the state minister of power, energy and mineral resources. “We are implementing a 100% electrification project at the upazila level.”
Hamid said: “The demand for power is increasing rapidly. In cities, the growth of power demand is 20%. So, the government is undertaking new projects to meet the demand.”
In 2009, only 47% of the population had access to electricity. The percentage has risen to 83 now. The government is providing 300,000 to 350,000 new power connections every month.
This is because over the past nine years, 88 power plants have been set up by the government and private sector, with only three being decommissioned. Currently there are 112 power plants compared to only 27 in 2009.
Of the new ones, 32 plants with a total capacity of 4,606MW were government funded, while 56 were financed by the private sector and are able to produce 4,213MW.
Nine years ago, the country’s power generating capacity was 4,924MW which has risen to 16,046MW. Bangladesh imported 500MW from India in 2013. It started importing 100MW more in 2016 and added 60MW with it last year.
The bulk of the country’s power is generated by gas-run power plants (5,146MW) with fuel-powered plants contributing 3,670MW. In addition, a solar power plant with 3MW capacity is currently in production. More such plants will be set up, according to the Power Division.
“The government is executing all plans to ensure electricity for all. It is working to ensure that all power plants go into production on time,” said Abul Kalam Azad, the former power secretary and the government’s chief coordinator for implementing SDG.