Matarbari power plant starts trial operation

Photo shows construction of the Matarbari coal fired power plant progressing.
Prothom Alo

The 600-mw first unit of the Matarbari coal-fired power plant in Cox's Bazar’s Maheshkhali started trial operation on Saturday.

Project director of the Matarbari coal-fired power plant project Abul Kalam Azad inaugurated the trial operation around 12:30pm.

The Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited, which is implementing the project, has already completed all preparation as the plant’s first unit is set to produce 600mw of electricity commercially in next December. This coal powered power plants is one of the prime minister’s fast-track projects

The 1,200mw coal fired power plant has been constructed on the abandoned salt fields of 1,600 acres in Matarbari on the coast of the Bay of Bengal at a cost of Tk 519.84 billion. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is financing about Tk 420 billion and the government of Bangladesh is providing the remaining funds.

The supervisor of Coal Power Generation Company’s Matabari site office, Mohamamd Monowar Hossain Mazumder told Prothom Alo test operation of the power plant’s first 600-mw unit will begin today, Saturday. Fuel will be used at the beginning to produce electricity and coal will be used after four-five days.

Saying that 125-150mw of electricity will be produced on the first day, and the electricity will be supplied to national grid, Monowar Hossain Mazumder said it will require 1,200 tonnes of fuel. It will take at least a month to start producing 600mw of electricity, and a total of 390,000 tonnes of coal are kept in stock at power plant and the first unit will go on commercial operation by next December. Besides, 70 per cent of the work of the 600-mw second unit has been completed and this unit will start producing commercially in April 2024.

Visiting the power plant, several thousand local and foreign workers and engineers were seen working. There are two 275-metre high chimneys in the power plant. Work on the one of two broilers has been completed and work on another one is progressing. Construction of four separate storages with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes each was underway to preserve coals that were unloaded from the port.

Work on the project has been progressing using electricity via 400KV transmission line of national grid since the construction of the power substation completed on 15 April.

According to sources at the Coal Power Generation Company, 8,000 people including 1,150 foreign nationals work in the construction of this project, which is being implemented by Japanese contractor firms Sumitomo Corporation, Toshiba Corporation and IHI Corporation.

The entire Cox’s Bazar will be lit up by electricity from this power plant, Cox’s Bazar-2 (Moheshkhali-Kutubdia) constituency lawmaker Asheq Ullah Rafiq said. He told Prothom Alo this coal fired power plant project is one of the prime minister’s the fast-track projects. This plant will contribute significantly to the country’s power sector, one it goes on operation and load shedding will dropped. Besides, the economic scenario of Maheshkhali and Cox’s Bazar including expansion of tourism, trade and commerce will change, he added.

This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna