Tk 348b allocated for power and energy sector
A total of Tk 348.19 billion (34,819 crore) has been allocated for the country’s struggling power and energy sector in the next FY2023-24 with the power sector receiving Tk 338 billion (33825.10 crore) while and the energy sector Tk 9.9 billion (994.31 crore).
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed the allocation while unveiling the new budget at the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday.
In the outgoing FY2022-23, the total allocation for the power and energy sector was Tk 260 billion (26,066 crore).
Placing the budget, the finance minister said the government had promised to ensure power and energy security.
As a result of the expansion of power generation and distribution capacity as per the target, one hundred per cent population of the country has already been brought under electricity coverage.
He said that power generation capacity has increased from 4,942 megawatts in 2009 to 26,700 megawatts at present.
In order to diversify the use of energy in power generation in addition to setting up gas-based power plants, more emphasis is being put on coal, LNG, liquid fuel, dual-fuel, nuclear power plants and renewable energy-based power generation.
He mentioned that mega-projects are being implemented in power hubs constructed at patuakhali’s Payra as well as in Cox’s Bazar’s Maheshkhali and Matarbari. Coal-based Rampal 1,320 megawatts Maitree Super Thermal Project (1st Unit) and Payra 1,320 megawatts Thermal Power Plant Project have already started production.
Construction of Matarbari (2x600 megawatts) ultra-super critical thermal power plant is in progress. Some 33 power plants with a total capacity of 12,094 megawatts are under construction in public-private joint ventures and contract tradition for setting of 17 power plants with a capacity of 2,416 megawatts are underway. Besides, the government has made plans to set up another 34 power plants with a total capacity of 10,443 megawatts.
About the regional and sub-regional linkages in power procurement, Mustafa Kamal said that apart from generating power within the country, the government is also procuring power through regional and sub-regional diplomatic relations.
“We have a plan to import about 9,000 megawatts of electricity from neighboring countries by 2041. At present, a total of 1,160 megawatts of electricity is being imported from India through inter-country grid connection,” he said.
In addition, 748 megawatts of electricity from the 1st unit of coal-fired power plants from 2-unit coal-fired power plants in Jharkhand, India, have been added to the national grid of Bangladesh. Signing of an agreement is at the final stage for import of 500 MW electricity from a hydroelectric power plant to be constructed in collaboration with Nepal.
In addition, a tripartite MoU between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India for import of electricity from Bhutan is going to be signed soon.
“In all, we hope to ensure 40,000 megawatts of electricity generation by 2030 and 60,000 megawatts by 2041”, he added.
About the use of environment-friendly fuel in power generation, he said the government has set a target of using renewable energy at 10 per cent of total electricity generation by 2030.
Besides, by 2041, the government wants to generate 40 per cent of the total electricity production from clean energy, he said.
Consistent with this, electricity services are being provided to the people living in off-grid areas by installing 60 lakh solar systems, the minister added.
A total of eight solar parks have been set up across the country. Solar-powered pumps are being installed in place of diesel-powered pumps to reduce carbon emissions. Already 2,570 pumps have been installed, with a combined capacity of 49.16 megawatts.
At present, a total of 894 megawatts of electricity is being generated from renewable energy. Most importantly, the country's first nuclear power plant, with a capacity of 2400 megawatts, is being constructed at Rooppur with the help of Russia.
On the issue of electricity transmission and distribution, he said that in the last 14 years, 6,644 circuit km transmission lines have been installed to transmit the generated electricity to the people.
Thus, the transmission lines have now increased to 14,644 kilomtres. Also, the distribution lines have been increased from 3,69,000 to 6,69,000 Kms. As a result, power system losses have come down from 14 per cent to 7.7 percent, he said.
“Our goal is to expand the transmission lines to 28,000 Kilometres by 2030,” the minister said.
Besides, around 53 lakh pre-paid smart metres have been installed in the last 05 (five) years for the purpose of preserving accurate information on electricity consumption at the customer level and preventing misuse of electricity.
Compared to 2009, the storage capacity of fuel oil has increased from 894,000 (8.94 lakh) tonnes to 1.36 million (13.60 lakh) tonnes in 2021-22. Besides, various steps have been taken to increase the storage capacity of fuel oil to 60 days instead of 30 days in a phased manner to ensure energy security.
India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline was recently inaugurated through which imported fuel oil (diesel) will be supplied to 16 districts of the northern part of the country and to the 150-megawatt power plant at Syedpur. Construction of a pipeline from Siliguri Marketing Terminal in India to Parbatipur Depot in Bangladesh is underway.
Through this pipeline supply of one million (10 lakh) metric tonnes of diesel to Bangladesh in a short period of time is possible, the minister said.
“Steps have been taken to enhance the refining capacity of Eastern Refinery, the only oil refinery in the country, from 1.5 million (15 lakh) metric tonnes to 4.5 million (45 lakh) metric tonnes. There is a decision to construct a large integrated oil refinery storage tank in Payra seaport area,” said the finance minister.
The finance minister mentioned that most recently about 200 billion cubic feet of gas reserves were discovered in the gas field of Bhola district.
The production of gas was 1,744 million cubic feet per day when the present government took office, this has now increased to about 2,300 million cubic feet per day.
Exploration activities have been intensified to increase oil and gas production. BAPEX, the country's only oil and gas exploration company, has increased daily gas production by 984 million cubic feet following capacity expansion. Another 46 wells will be dug by December 2024.
It is expected that after drilling all the wells, 618 million cubic feet of gas per day will be added to the national grid. Oil and gas exploration is also going on in the offshore area. As this work requires huge investment, we are taking necessary steps to attract foreign investment.
He said liquefied natural gas is being imported and purchased from the spot market to meet the increasing fuel demand. Besides, construction of a Land-Based LNG Terminal with a capacity of 1000 million cubic feet per day at Matarbari in Cox's Bazar is under process.