The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) on Saturday signed two non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with Indian business tycoons Adani Group and Reliance Group to set up coal-fired and LNG-based power plants in Bangladesh under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act.
To meet the demand for energy, which is growing by 5 per cent per year, the government signed the unsolicited MoUs with the Indian private sector to produce 3,200-MW coal-based power plants, a 3,000-MW LNG-based power station
and a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) in next three years.
"We just opened up a new era in this region in energy cooperation and we believe that through this cooperation in energy trade we could get the highest benefit and enhance our productivity and GDP growth as per our desire. In line with this we already started talks with Nepal and Bhutan to use their hydro potentials," said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.
He was addressing as a chief guest the non-binding MoU signing ceremony in Dhaka on Saturday.
Power Secretary Monwar Islam presided over the function at the Mukti Hall of the Biduyt Bhaban in the city which was also addressed by Energy Secretary Abu Bakar Siddique, PDB chairman Shahinul Islam Khan, Adani Group representative Raja Hasnain, and Reliance Group's Sameer Gupta.
Under the MoU, Adani Group will build a 1,600- MW ultra super critical coal-based power plant at Maheshkhali Island or any other suitable place in Bangladesh as BPDB is yet to earmark any land for these projects. However, Reliance Group will set up a 3,000-MW LNG-based power station and a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) at a suitable location in Bangladesh.
The State Minister said, "We have also signed such MoUs with Malaysia, China and Singapore. We need to work on the issue as we want to complete the projects in the shortest possible time as we need to support our industries and all energy-based industries in a proper manner, the State Minister said.
The Indian companies will implement the two projects on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis and the government will buy electricity from them for an indefinite period. Both the sides did not discuss the tariff rates of electricity of the two projects.
"The boundary, which is existing for the last 40 years among the friendly states in the region, is going away through this new horizon. We all are going to transform into one state in terms of trade and business for the well being of the region," he told the function attended by Tazul Islam, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power and Energy Ministry.
He said that from now on we the neighbouring countries will work together as brothers to cooperate with each other, which is the main spirit of establishing SAARC.
Nasrul Hamid said, "Many people ask why we are importing electricity from India. The reason is that if we want to import from Nepal and Bhutan, then it will take 8-10 years. But from India, we have already started taking 500 MW and another 100 MW will come from Tripura of India by December and if we take electricity from Nepal and Bhutan, it will require Indian help."
Mentioning the budget allocation in the power sector the State Minister said the government doubled the budget for the power sector as the vision of the Prime Minister is to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021.
The State Minister urged the Indian conglomerates to expedite implementation of their projects.
"We re-open new electricity connections to industrial consumers, which were suspended for several years. Now any industrial and commercial consumer can apply for electricity connections," the State Minister announced. He also said that the there was no deficit in electricity production, but due to problems in transmission and distribution, disruptions were taking place in few places.
"But such disruption will go within next three years as 26 projects have been undertaken to address the problems," he added.
Taking part in the discussions the Reliance Group representative said that the 3,000-MW power and LNG terminal projects are the largest potential investments worth about $3 billion.
Of the two Indian firms, Adani Group now generates 11,000 MW in India and abroad while Reliance Group produces 5,000 MW power in India.