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     Volume 8 Issue 62 | March 20, 2009 |

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Saving the Power Sector

Dr MAK Azad

Our power sector is passing through a crunch time as the demand for electricity outstrips supply, making the problem multidimensional. In 2008, the average generation of electricity was around 3600-3700 megawatt whereas the demand was around 5000 megawatt. Load shedding is a regular phenomenon and our everyday life is severely affected by the shortage of electricity. Moreover, the shortage of gas supply has created another major problem. It is to be noted here that about 89 percent of the country’s electricity is generated from gas. It is used as the primary fuel for power generation. Last year, due to an acute shortage of gas supply, 400-900 MW capacities of power generation were needed to be switched off from time to time. Shortage of gas supply was around 300 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd). According to the Power System Master Plan’s updated June 2006 reference forecast, peak demand of electricity for the year 2009 would be 6066 MW. But considering an impending economic slow down, the country might need 5743 MW of electricity. If one takes into consideration the existing generation capacity, the net maximum generation would be around 4300 MW. So shortage of electricity would be in the range of 1000-2000 MW. At the same time, the shortage of gas supply can make matters worse. As an inevitable fall-out of the globalisation and intense competition, countries are looking for higher productivity and optimum utilisation of their resources. In this backdrop, increased regional cooperation and resource sharing offer hope. Asean, Saarc, SADC have been formed and many more regional and sub-regional entities are in the offing, for cooperation in the economic, industrial, energy, trade, social, cultural, technological and other allied fields. Saarc brings together the countries whose synergy offers a wide range of opportunities for development. The region is a powerhouse of skilled manpower. An integrated approach towards development is needed. Sheikh Hasina, the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in the Colombo Summit held in July 1998, stressed the need for strengthening the cooperation amongst Saarc countries. Such cooperation can be easily extended to the establishment of a Saarc power grid. Immediately after the Colombo Summit, an international seminar was held in Dhaka on August 8, 1998, under the auspices of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of South and Central Asia, where the Dhaka Declaration was made, which suggested that the Saarc Power Grid for quality power supply must be high on the Saarc agenda of action. The flowering of a new spirit of cooperation will help resolve not only the problem of power, but also all infrastructure development and catalyse the economic resurgence of the region. Power being a commercial and tradable commodity can also be imported and exported among the Saarc countries under A South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement or Sapta for mutual benefit of all countries in the region. South Asian Power Grid has become a necessity.

Way Forward

The following points may be considered as a way forward for immediate action:
-People's participation in load management and energy conservation
-Fast track decision for coal extraction
-Fast track decision for gas exploration
- Decision for power import from neighbouring countries as a first step towards implementation of SAARC Power Grid.

Possible ways of Power Import
Import from eastern region of India in the year 2006, a pre-feasibility study on electricity interconnection between Bangladesh and India was conducted with the assistance of USAID. The brief of the study is as below:

During summer and rainy seasons, the eastern region of India has surplus power, which can be exported to Bangladesh. During that period, demand of electricity in Bangladesh is also high due to irrigation load and hot summer conditions.

Phase wise possibilities of power import
-Short Term (2009-2010): 250 MW
- Mid Term (2011-2012): 500 MW
-Long Term (2015-2016): 1000 MW Implementation time for short term proposal is around two year from the day of start.

Salient Features
As per recommendation of the study the most suitable point of interconnection is Bahrampur of India and Ishurdi of Bangladesh.

-To ensure uninterrupted and reliable power supply free from frequency, sudden interruption and reconnection, the study proposed 250 MW high voltage back-to-back DC Interconnection, which would be upgraded to 500 MW during mid term period.
-Transmission line Would be 500 MW capacity from the very beginning of Interconnection.
- In the long term, the whole system would be upgraded to 1000 MW power transfer capacity.

Methodology of Interconnection
Asynchronous Interconnection: Stage-I
- Establishment of 400/220 kV substation at Baharampur (India) by looping in and looping in and looping out of Farakka-Jeerat 400 kv single circuit line and addition of 2x315 MVA, 400/220á kV Interconnecting transformer.
-Establishment of 400/130 kV substation at Ishurdi (Bangladesh) by addition of 3x315MVA, 400/230 kV Interconnecting transformer.
-1 x250MW HVDC, back to back station at Baharampur
- Baharampur - Ishurdi 400kV double circuit line: 100 km

Asynchronous Interconnection: Stage-II
-Addition of 2nd I 250MW HVDC back-to-back unit at Baharmpur

Construction Cost:
-Approximate Total Cost(lncluding IDC and Centages): US$ 114 million
-Cost of Transmission Line Construction: US$ 30 million
-Cost of 250 MW HVDC back-to-back Station: US$ 84 million

-Cost of 2nd 250 MW HVDC back-to-back Station (including IDC and Centages) : US$ million

A. Economic Impact of power Import Short Term
-Energy Import (250 MW, 17 hours per day at 60% load factor): 918 million KWh/Year.
-Import Cost (approximately): US Cents 0.044 /KWh (Equivalent to Indian Rupee 2)
-Average cost of local Generation in Bangladesh (Captive Generators by Diesel):US Cents 0.129/ KWh (TK 9/KWh)
-Cost Benefit for Bangladesh: (0.1290.044)x 918= US$ 78 Million/Year.

B. Import from North-Eastern Region of India
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), State Government of Tripura (GoT) and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (lL&FS) are setting up a 740 MW power plant in Tripura, which is expected to be operational by April 2012. Government of Tripura is interested to sell 500 MW power to Bangladesh. Asp per IL&FS, indicative first year tariff at the power plant bus-bar would be around Rs 2.50 to 2.60 /KWh

Other tentative cost would be as follows
-Transmission Cost (tentative): US Cents 0.0125 /KWh (Eqv. INR 0.54 at INR 43= USD 1)
- Total Cost of Import : INR 3.04 or 3.14 per Unit US Cents 0.07 or 0.073 per unit.
-Appr. Energy Import: 1836 Million Unit/Year (500 MW, 17 hours per day at 60% plant factor)
-Cost of Energy Import : (1836X 3.14) million INR per Year (1 UD$=INR 43) US$ 134 Million per year

C. Long Term Option for Power Generation
-On the basis of the performance of the existing coal mine at Barapukuria, another coal based 125 MW capacity 3rd unit may be commissioned.
-Construct Imported coal based power Plants near sea ports -coal Import would not be easy because of high demand of coal around the world.
-Develop own coal mine and construct mine -mouth coal based power plants in the Northern region- Least Cost Option.
-Construct joint venture hydropower plants in Nepal/Bhutan and import through four border transmission line.
-Construct joint venture hydropower plants in Myanmar and import power.
-Initiate process for the development of Nuclear Power Plant at Ruppur to increase sources of primary fuel supply.

The Writer is Former Secretary General,Federation of Engineering Institutions of South and Central Asia (FEISCA).


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