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BY- ASHIS ROY

POWER CRISIS IN BANGLADESH


The country is currently facing 1500 MW of power shortage causing serious dislocation in all spheres of life including production in fields and factories. After failing to implement the 3 years' rental power projects in time, the ministry faced in difficulties to implement all its mid-term projects including Shiddhirganj-150, Sylhet-150, Khulna-150, Shikalbaha-150, the Asian Development bank funded Sirajgonj-150 and Khulna-150, World Bank funded Shiddhirganj and JBIC funded Haripur 360 MW power plants as per schedule, power division sources said. The Power Development Board (PDB) is facing serious problem to complete the tender processes for the installation of two public sector power plants as the latest tenders need to be scrapped for three other independent power plants because of demands of bidders. As a result, the power projects 210MW plant in Khulna, 150MW plant in Sylhet and three 330MW-450MW independent power plants, already seven to eight years behind schedule, will be getting further delayed. In the latest setback, the PDB will not get the power from the ADB funded 150 MW Shiddhirganj peaking power plant as turbine will not reach Dhaka as per schedule, competent source told The Independent. The turbine carrier met with an accident on way to Dhaka last week and due to this the turbine will not work. So it needs time to make a fresh turbine for the plant. In another blow to the power board, the cabinet committee on economic affairs early last month did not approve the faulty tender process for the 150MW Sylhet power plant, and the power board will need to scrap the tender as a result. Sources in the Power Division said the power board would be asked by the next week to re-tender for the power plant, which was initiated in 2000 and already tendered for four times, to be set up out of government fund. In the latest setback, the Power Development Board did not receive any bid for the 210MW plant in Khulna by the March deadline after the lone Chinese bidder had backed out after a year of tender process for the installation on suppliers' credit. It is learnt that the caretaker government has taken up short-term, mid-term and long-term plans to add additional volume of electricity to the grid. According to the plans, the government has managed to add an additional quantum of 400MW electricity to the national grid from the existing power plants, which falls under the short-term category. According to Power Ministry sources, in order to increase generation it has taken up a 15 years' rental power plant project aimed at adding 260 MW. Later it has decided to install more rental power plants for generating around 300 MW of electricity on an urgent basis, which is of three-year duration. Under the mid-term plan, the ministry said it could add 200MW from 10 small independent power plants to the national grid. The Power Ministry estimated that the government could add at least 1,000 MW of additional power to the national grid by 2008. "Now there is no hope as the fate of four high cost rental projects including Kumargong-50, Sahjibazar-50, Fenchuganj-50 and Bogra-20 is hanging in balance as the contractor is an accused in Barapukuria coal mine scam. It is assumed that contractor Moazzem Hossain will not complete the task as per schedule", an official said.

Some bidders including the 50 MW Fenchuganj plant and the 35 MW Bhola plant have not yet opened L/Cs to procure plants from abroad although almost half of the scheduled time has been elapsed. Some are engaged in development work in site areas. "We are trying to do something and it will take time we have a punishment clause, and if necessary we will enforce it," Fouzul Kabir Khan, Secretary, Power Division, said. But punishment will not bring electricity to people, he admitted. Preferring anonymity, a top official in the power sector said, "Only Shikalbaha project is all right but unfortunately we cannot supply them gas so this step did not give us any result." The delaying process in implementing rental power projects has also raised a question in different quarters that if they cannot come into operation as per schedule then why the government has taken up the project of the high-cost plants as the price of electricity generated by these plants would be much higher than the normal plants. The Power Development Board (PDB), Power Cell and REB sources told The Independent yesterday that the high-cost rental power plants would come into operation within 120 days after signing the contracts. The long-term rental plants have separate deals with the bidders but the time span is four months to 10 months and the SPPs (small power plants) would come into operation by 2009, it is learnt. Power sector officials are also not sure whether the 10 small IPPs will come into operationby December 2008 as the contracts allow them time till January 2009. "According to the plan, these plants will come into operation by September 2008, but now it can be said they would not come into operation before 2010."

Power Crisis:Issues and Challenges


Md. Mizanur Rahman Thursday, 03.26.2009 80 Million People do not have access to electricity. Rest 60 Million are getting unreliable power. Load shed up to 1500 MW during hot summer days. Shortage and unreliable power supply has constrained. Our Goals for the Power Sector, To make electricity available for all by the year 2020. To ensure reliable and quality supply of electricity, to provide electricity at a reasonable and affordable price availability of primary fuel for power generation in future is a major challenge. Electricity Growth Installed Capacity BPDB IPP Peak Demand : 7.2 % in 2008 7.5 % Av. since 1990 : 5450 MW (Jan 01, 2009) : 3809 MW : 1641 MW : 6000 MW (summer 2009) : : : : 4500 MW (summer 2009) 1000-1500 MW (summer 2009) 149 kWh / annum (FY 2008) 45 % (FY 2008)

Generation Capacity Anticipated Load Shed Per Capita Consumption Access to Electricity

80 Million people do not have access to electricity Rest 60 Million are getting unreliable Load shed up to 1500 MW during hot Shortage and unreliable power supply haseconomic growth

Long Term Goals for the Power Sector To make electricity available for all by the year 2020 To ensure reliable and quality supply of electricity To provide electricity at a reasonable and affordable price Age of Power Plants: Age Group (Years) 40 + 31 - 40 21 30 11 - 20 01 - 10 Total No. of power plant 7 6 26 10 50 MW 140 318 1399 1113 2480 5450

Shortage of generation; Inadequate generation addition during last few years Capacity of power plants derated due to lack of proper maintenance Unreliable generation due to high maintenance outage and forced outage High maintenance and overhauling time Limitation in power transfer from East to West zone and from Sylhet area to the rest of the country Power Tariff is not cost reflecting Fuel crisis Reduced supply from Sangu Gas field Low gas pressure during winter Gas shortage for power generation due to - demand exceeding gas production - gas transmission bottleneck in some areas High Cost of Imported fuel Oil High Gas dependence Highly inefficient decision making process Procurement process is not conducive Lack of participation of professionals in decision making Absence of autonomy in the power sector entities Unplanned reform initiatives destroyed overall co-ordination Absence of good governance in the newly created entities Sustained Primary fuel supply Financing capital intensive power projects to ensure quantity and quality of power Enhanced Private Public Partnership Capacity building for sector management Improving sector efficiency by comprehensive reform and restructuring and ensuring good governance

Public Sector (Under Construction Power Plant Projects) Installed Capacity (MW) 108 Net Capacity (MW) 104 Expected Commissioned Date Completed ** (FY 09) June 2009 (First Unit120 MW) June- 2010

Sl. No 1

Particulars Fenchugonj 90 MW CC 2nd Phase Siddhirganj 2X120 MW Peaking Sikalbaha 150 MW Peaking

Plant Type Base

Fuel

Remarks

Gas

Public, JBIC

Peaking Gas

240

237

Public, ADB

Peaking Gas

150

148

Public, GoB 228 MW will be commissioned by June09

Total Capacity :

498

489

Private Sector (Under Construction Power Plant Projects) Sl. No. Plant Type Fuel Installed Capacity (MW) Net Capacity (MW) Expected Commissioning Date Remarks

Particulars Rental 3 years (IPP) Khulna Shahajibazar

Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking

Furnace Oil Gas Gas Gas Gas Gas Gas FO

40 50 50 50 50 35 20 55

40 50 50 50 50 35 20 55

Commissioned on June, 2008 Commissioned on Nov 13, 2008

Total 350 MW (Rental-3 yr): Awarded-Jan 08

Kumargaon Ashuganj Fenchuganj Bhola Bogra Chittagong Rental 15 years (IPP) Bogra

Peaking Gas Peaking Gas Peaking Gas

22 10 50

22 10 50

Kumargaon 2 Fenchuganj

Shahajibazar

Peaking Gas

86

86

140 MW already Commissioned commissioned and rest 210 on July 23, 2008 MW are expected March-2009 to be March-2009 commissioned by March-2009 June 2009 March-2009 June-2009 Total: 168 MW; AwardedDec07 Commissioned 118 MW already on April, 2008 commissioned and Commissioned rest 50 on March-2009 MW are expected April-2009 to be commissioned by Commissioned April 2009 on February, 2008

Private Sector (Under Construction Power Plant projects) 10-30 MW Small IPP Gas Feni Barobkunda Jangalia Tangail Maona 3 Rupganj Mohipal, Feni Hobiganj Ullahpara Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Gas Narsingdi Peaking 22 22 Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Peaking Gas Gas Gas Gas Gas 11 11 Gas Gas Gas 22 33 33 11 11 22 33 33 11 11 22 22 33 22 22 33

(FY-09) Total: 220 MW Commissioned on Awarded: Oct. February, 07 2008 February -2009 77 MW already March -2009 commissioned and Commissioned rest 143 on November, MW are expected 2008 to be commissioned by February -2009 June 2009 March -2009 February -2009 January -2009 Commissioned on January, 2009 Commissioned on December, 2008 Commissioned: 335 MW Expected commissioning by June 09: 403 MW

Total Capacity :

738

738

Expected commissioning of new power plant from Public & Private by June 2009 : 631 MW

Sl. No. Particulars Chandpur 150 MW CC Sylhet 150 MW CC (100 MW GT) Siddhirganj 2X150 MW Peaking Khulna 150 MW Peaking Sirajganj 150 MW Peaking

Plant Type

Fuel Installed Capacity (MW) Gas 150 Gas

Net Capacity (MW) 147

Expected Commissioning Date FY 2011

Remarks

Base

Peaking Gas Peaking Gas Peaking Gas Peaking

100-150

99

FY 2011

Public; GOB Public; GOB Tender Invited Public; WB

300

296

FY 2011 Public; ADB Public; ADB

4 5

150 150

148 148

FY 2012 FY 2012

Bibiyana 450 MW CC- IPP Sirajganj 450 MW CC 1st Unit- IPP Haripur 360 MW CC Bhola 150 MW CC Barapukuria 3 rd unit Bheramara 360 MW CC Total Capacity :

Gas Base Gas Base Gas Base Gas Base Coal Base Gas Base 360 Around 2800 MW 355 2766 FY 2014 125 115 FY 2013 150 148 FY 2013 360 355 FY 2013 450 450 FY 2013 450 450 FY 2013

Private: invited Private

PQ

8 9 10 11

Public: JICA Public; IDB GOB Public: JICA

1. 2.

Maximum Demand (MW) Dependable Generation from existing plants New Power Plants (MW) Dependable from New Plants (MW) Total Dependable Capacity (MW) Demand-Supply Gap (MW)

FY2008 5569 4000

FY2009 6066 4000

FY2010 6608 4000

FY-2011 7148 4000

FY2012 7732 4000

FY-2013 8364 4000

3. 4. 5. 6.

880 700 4700 1569 1366

270 220 4920 1688

550 440 5360 1788

300 240 5600 2132

1535 1228 6828 1536

Efforts need to commission under construction private power projects (SIPP and Rentals) on time. Construct and place in operation the committed generation projects (Public sector- 300 MW Siddhirganj peaking, Sirajganj 150 MW, Khulna 150 MW, Chandpur 150 MW, Sylhet 100 MW, Bhola 150 MW and Bibiyana 450 MW IPP, Sirajgonj 450 MW IPP) 125 MW Barapukuria 3rd unit project be expedite. Initiatives to be taken to construct future large coal and nuclear power plants. Before FY 2012 generation addition from new initiative is not possible except expensive rental Should we go for Furnace Oil based peaking plants of total capacity 500 MW considering emergency need? - Per unit cost will be high; around 10-12 US cents (present average cost is around 3.5 US cents) - BPDB need compensation from the Government unless tariff increases

Only other option is DSM and energy efficiency improvement measures Ensure shop closure time at 7:00 PM Feeders for power supply to the shops/malls/markets should be scheduled under load shedding right at 8:00 pm. Other feeders load shedding time be scheduled accordingly. Monitor Holiday staggering so that load can be distributed evenly in holiday and working days. Start print and electronic media campaign for shutting down unnecessary light, fans, air conditioners etc. Provide incentive to the standby captive generators to run their machine without taking power from grid.

Pay attention to Maintenance Efforts need to minimize interruption time due to transformer burnout during summer overload. Store spare transformers, breakers in good condition in each electric supply. Setup maintenance team with proper equipment in every electric supply division for emergency response. Instruct to check and maintain standby generators regularly to emergency services like all hospitals, shangshad bhaban, key points installations etc. Prepare program and make necessary arrangements in all power stations to reduce maintenance time. Set up two expert team with proper logistic support, one for gas turbine and one for steam turbine power plant for emergency response. Efforts need to minimize interruption time due to transformer burnout during summer overload. Store spare transformers, breakers in good condition in each electric supply. Setup maintenance team with proper equipment in every electric supply division for emergency response. Instruct to check and maintain standby generators regularly to emergency services like all hospitals, shangshad bhaban, key points installations etc. Prepare program and make necessary arrangements in all power stations to reduce maintenance time. Set up two expert team with proper logistic support, one for gas turbine and one for steam turbine power plant for emergency response.

Others During summer run Saidpur, Rangpur, Bheramara oil based peaking plants during off peak hours (Depends on oil storage and Gov. compensation to BPDB on liquid fuel for day time use. Ensure liquid fuel supply to WASA generators to maintain smooth water supply during summer. Ensure gas supply to the power plants. Around 4000 MW generation can ensure to avoid day time load shed. Establish call centers with high efficiency to provide information to the customers regarding load shed and interruption. Strengthen Energy Conservation Program; Necessary arrangement required to place draft Energy Conservation Act before Parliament.

Gas shortage: depleting gas reserve; no significant gas field discovery in recent years; Depends on 3 rd round bidding; Oil : No indigenous resources; high price; Volatile market Renewable Energy: 1) Hydro- Flat land, low potential 2) Wind- no significant potential in costal areas 3) Biomass- land is limited, It has other use in the rural economy 4) Fuel cell or hydrogen- depends on technological breakthrough 5) Solar- only option; still high cost; no possibility of large scale generation in near future Coal: Near term option; Domestic or Imported Nuclear: Returned vibrantly in the market

Coal, Nuclear and Solar may be the future source of primary fuel. We should start with Coal and Nuclear; after 2030 Nuclear may pushed out Coal and after 2050 may be Renewable will dominate primary fuel requirement. Location Barapukuria, Dinajpur Phulbari, Dinajpur Dighipara, Dinajpur Khalaspir, Rangpur Jamalganj, Joupurhat Year of discovery 1985-87 1997 1994-95 1989-90 1962 Depth (meter) 118-509 150-240 328-407 257-483 640-1158 Proven Reserve (Million tones) 390 386 Not yet estimated 685 1053

Estimated 2500 million tones of Coal resources have been discovered Barapukuria coal mine was developed in 2006; 1 million ton production capacity for 30 years; presently supplying fuel to 2X125 MW power plant; can provide coal to another 125 MW unit. High quality coal, 12 % ash content, 0.5 % sulfur, heat content 10050 Btu/lb PSMP identified 500 unit size for coal based steam plant Supercritical pressure technology should be selected for high efficiency (nearly 45%) Coal scenario of PSMP suggested 4000 MW domestic and 6000 MW imported coal plant Up to 2025 we need 135 million ton of coal. If no further coal power development after 2025 we need at least 650 million tons for plants life cycle fuel supply up to 2055. Can we be able to develop nearly 800 ton from domestic resources?

Without open-cut mining we will be able to produce only 150-200 million tons if no further low depth coal discovery. Coal policy finalization is utmost priority. Resolve controversy regarding mining method and ensure fair compensation to the affected people. We need to examine imported coal based power plant. Suitable location may be in the Chittagong region. We can start with imported coal right now and then with domestic coal when policy finalized

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Sen. John McCain called Wednesday for the construction of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Hinsustan Times, Tue, 23 Dec 2008, Title: Work to begin on 21 N-plants in 3 years The country plans to add 21 new atomic power plants in the country and work on these plants is expected to take off during the ongoing Eleventh Plan period (2007-12). These plants would be based on indigenous and foreign technology, highly placed government sources said. Publication Date: Thursday, 10th January 2008 Led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, along with many of the UKs other leading institutions including the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the statement reads: "We, the undersigned, representing the UK expertise in all forms of energy and related engineering, urge the government to give the go-ahead to allow new nuclear build as part of the balanced energy mix needed to tackle climate change and provide secure long term energy supplies."

439 Nuclear Power Plants are providing 16 % of the global electricity Per unit cost around 4.0 - 4.5 US cents makes nuclear competitive with coal fired steam Nuclear is not the only answer - more renewables and clean coal will be also be needed. But nuclears proven ability to generate low carbon electricity means it can play a valuable role. Building First Nuclear Plant takes longer time 15-20 years from inception in developing countries. RNPP project was conceived in 1961. Bangladesh has signed various agreements, treaties related to the international nonproliferation and verification regimes Government is committed to implement RNPP. A high powered cabinet committee headed by Prime Minister exists Opposition from environmentalists reduced due to safe third generation nuclear technology Completion time of RNPP may be in 2016 URGENT ACTION REQUIRED NOW! Investment requirement would be around 2.0 billion USD for 800-1000 MW. For a single unit size should not be more than 5-10 % of the total installed capacity. Size should be justified after load flow and stability study. At least two unit by 2020 at Rooppur. By 2025 we need another 2-3 unit of size 1000 MW. New site (Nuclear Park) for Nuclear Power need to be identified. May be at Mawa.

Sl No. 1. 2. 3.

Project name

2500 MW phase-I Coal based ST Kaptai 6th & 7th unit

Capacity Cost (MW) (Million USD) 1000 1500 100 240 560

Expected year of Commissioning 2014 2014 2014

Financing Source GoB/JBIC GoB IPP

4.

Meghnaghat 2nd unit 450 (Replace nepc 110, ghor 110, hari 100) 2150 MW Gas based 300 peaking at Ashuganj (replacing existing 128 MW ST, 90 MW CC & 56 MW GT) 2500 MW phase-II Coal based ST Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) unit-I Total (During FY 2014-FY 2016) 1000 8001000 3850

300

2015

GoB/WB/ADB

5. 6.

1500 2000

2015 2016

GoB/JBIC GoB/Korea

6100

Coal Development Availability of primary fuel for power generation in future is a major challenge. It is necessary to finalize Coal Policy immediately for domestic coal development. We also need to examine the installation of power plant based on imported coal. Nuclear - Conventional nuclear: developed nations are rethinking about nuclear power; fuel availability ,initial high investment, waste disposal, safety, long construction time and high decommissioning cost are major concern but if overall per unit cost is competitive with coal and safety is ensured nuclear should be considered as one of the fuel options. - Fourth Generation Nuclear Power: Gas cooled pebble-bed technology, Highly safe, modular ( 20/40/80 MW) , less construction time, reasonable cost but still in the developing stage; May be a prospective candidate for future power generation. Renewable Energy Development

Establishment of SEDA is very important in the context of co-ordination, facilitating financing and harnessing CDM benefits. Though large scale power generation in near future is not possible but we can start for remote area lighting solution and also need to track global development for

future course of action at right time. Project financing - More GOB finance for generation projects; Role of public sector can not be ignored - Explore new source of financing : Islamic financing (ijara Sukuk) be explored - Enhance private sector participation and public-private partnership Project implementation capacity - Project implementation capacity need to enhanced to realize Vision - A strong planning and power trading entity is utmost priority - Establish a strong unit for procurement of generation projects with adequate resources - Establish high level committee for smooth implementation of generation projects involving MoF, Energy Division, Law ministry, NBR, ERD, Planning Commission and Power Division

The politics of energy


Increased industrial profitability may be a motivation to put greater effort into resolving the energy crisis, but the larger political situation must first be resolved. The lack of adequate energy infrastructure severely affects both qualities of life for the poor and capital accumulation for the rich industrialists. In contrast, government officials have found the energy question highly profitable. The inadequacies of energy supply are a direct result of the corruption and short term greed of all previous governments. Every energy project has had funding and progress dissipated by institutional corruption and pilfering of funds at every level of government and business. The energy infrastructure crisis neatly illustrates one of the main aspects of the present political conflict in Bangladesh. The state bureaucrats' domination of politics and economic (dis)organization is restricting the growth of the economy, becoming a 'fetter on the forces of production'; this growth is represented at present largely by the quickly expanding garment industry. The culture of kickbacks, bribes, unproductive retainers and parasitical officialdom must be confronted and overcome before the conditions for a stable modern industrial economy can be created. The other main factor is that a young working class has been created by the fast industrial expansion. The present state of emergency has only achieved, at best, a short temporary drop in workers' combatively. Strikes and agitation are now growing once again. The ban on all political organizing has actually encouraged the already strong organizing autonomy of the the Bangladeshi proletariat; unions are banned from functioning or meeting, so cannot play their mediating role as sellers and negotiators of labor. At present, all strikes are officially wildcats.

Coal and electricity:


Energy supply is a major problem for all classes in Bangladesh. The electricity infrastructure is old and badly maintained, breaks down frequently and is inadequate to meet the demand. Power cuts are frequent; many areas are only supplied for a few hours a day. Some areas have no power for days at a

time when a local generator fails. For the ruling class, it impedes productivity, forcing shutdowns of workplaces when supply fails. For workers, it means loss of income due to these unpaid stoppages. For the wider society, air conditioning stops and makes crowded urban areas even more unbearable in hot weather. Lack of refrigeration encourages traders to regularly doctor food with dangerous cheap preservatives such as formaldehyde. Water supplies are also affected, as much of it is dependent on electric pumps extracting groundwater supplies, both for domestic use and for farm irrigation. The lack of regular electricity has severely affected industrial output, particularly in the jute mills, the country's second largest industry after the garment sector. Loss-making mills, whose management partly blames lack of power supply for unprofitability, have withheld wages for months at a time. This has sparked strikes and violent clashes. Bangladesh has considerable coal deposits, but extraction has many pitfalls (pun intended). Only recently (April 26th) a British mine ventilation expert was overcome by high Temperature and humidity in Barapukuria coal mine at a depth of 450 metres and died. The geological and climatic conditions of the country make mining a difficult and dangerous task. As Badrul Imam put it; Quote: The following points highlight the issues that matter most while considering mining prospects and problems in Bangladesh. 1) What makes coal mining in Bangladesh much more difficult compared to its counterpart across the border in West Bengal in India is the presence of a thick (about 100 meter), loose, water-bearing sandy layer (aquifer) above the coal deposit. a) In the case of Barapukuria underground mine, this water-bearing layer poses problems of shaft sinking as well as water flooding. In 1997, the mine was totally flooded with water from this layer, for which mine construction work was suspended for a year. b) In case of an open-pit mine this water layer will fill the mine pit if the water is not continuously pumped out throughout the period of mining. Such long-term pumping will lower the groundwater table in the surrounding land mass and habitat, and desertification may set in. 2) a) In the Barapukuria underground mine high heat flow in certain areas (southern part) raised the temperature in the tunnels very high. In addition, high rate of water discharge from quarried coal in the above situation makes the environment excessively humid. This gives a perfect recipe for heat stroke and suffocation, most likely faced by the two British experts, one of whom died on April 26. The working condition in such hot and humid environment is often inhumane. A second problem in Barapukuria is poisonous CO gas emission due to spontaneous combustion....

Other problems encountered are the risk of roof fall, methane gas explosion and subsidence affecting buildings, fields and roads on the surface, leading to compensation claims. Open cast mines have their own problems; "during the monsoon season, torrential rain may cause large scale land slide related to pit slope instability. This, along with water logging problem would render coal mining almost impossible." Quote: ....In case of an open-pit mine eviction, resettlement of a very large number of people is essential. The amount of loss of cultivable land is very high as well. The population density in Bangladesh is about 1000 per sq.km. Compared to 350 in India, or less than 10 in Australia where large scale open-pit mines operate. This is probably the most important point raised by the opponents of open-pit mine in Bangladesh. Conclusion: The above point to the constraints of coal mining in Bangladesh, irrespective of the mining method adopted -- underground or open-pit. The lesson is that one cannot be too aggressive in mining coal in Bangladesh because of the difficult geological setting, environmental effects and large scale social (resettlement) problems. One has to be cautious and conservative, rather slow and steady in extracting coal from under this soil. The national coal policy which is about to be announced shortly is reportedly contemplating to produce coal at a rate 20 million tons a year within 10 years, and 40 million tons per year within 20 years. This requires more than one large scale open-pit mine. Such a plan may definitely be referred to as aggressive. (Constraints of coal mining - Badrul Imam; Daily Star - May 5th 2007) When the British company Asia Energy attempted to begin open cast mining last year at Phulbari, it provoked a local insurrection of those people the mining would have displaced. 5 people were killed by cops in clashes. 30,000 people then seized control of the town as security forces withdrew. Asia Energy's offices were trashed and the government was forced to cancel the mining project. But it is now being reconsidered and there may be attempts to force its implementation during the present state of emergency brought in by the military-dominated caretaker government. In the most densely populated predominantly agricultural country in the world, all land use is precious to the poor, adding to the difficulties of any mining proposals. New proposals have included a suggestion of offshore gas extraction in the Bay of Bengal and the possibility of joint Bangladeshi/Indian/Nepalese exploration of hydro-electric potential of the Himalayan water system. There are vague ideas of developing nuclear power in the country, but problems of 'failing state' political instability and a related potential terrorist threat may make attracting private investment difficult.

Power crisis and Bangladesh budget 2008-09


Bangladesh Budget acknowledges that currently 43% population enjoys electricity facilities and per capita electricity consumption is low compared to many developing countries. In 2007, our per capita electricity consumption stood at 140 KWH while it was 325 in SL, 498 in Pakistan and 665 in India.

Currently, our daily requirement of electricity is 4500 MW on an average against our average generation 3600 MW. It is said that huge investment will be required to cover the gap of 900 MW which will not be possible on the part of the Government. Government therefore wants to involve the private sectors to generate the power in short term and long term basis. But the frustrating reality is that in this way it will be 2020 to make Bangladesh free from power crisis. International Atomic Energy (IAEA) has agreed to support the proposed Rooppur Nuclear Power Generation Plant. But God knows when we shall able to generate power from nuclear plant! Efforts are also underway to generate electricity from coal and renewable solar energy. But solar energy are so far fulfilling the small domestic requirements of rural areas only. Professor Abu Ahmed, the economist from Dhaka University blames on us for failures in the power sector.

Bangladesh & Russia Signed MoU for Nuclear Energy


Wednesday, 05.13.2009 Bangladesh and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) here wednesday in peaceful use of nuclear energy. ICT Secretary Najmul Huda Khan and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) Chairman Dr Md Mosharaf Hossain signed the agreement and MoU on behalf of Bangladesh part while the Deputy Director General of Russian State Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) NN Spasskiy on behalf of the Russia. The government will install 600MW to 1,000MW electricity generation capacity nuclear power plant within four to five years at Rooppur in Pabna as a part of peaceful nuclear deal, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Architecture Yafez Osman told the reporters. He was addressing after signing a bilateral agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on installation of the nuclear power plant between Bangladesh and Russia yesterday at the Conference Room of ICT. Yafez said that a high powered team would visit nuclear power plant sites in Russia immediately then the government would decide about the final deal with Russia in this regard. Responding a question, he said that the government has already signed MoU with two other countries including USA and China in this regard. We will deal with any of them who would have offered us comparatively law price and provide best technology for the plant, the state minister said. Through the signing of MoU, we have lead the next steps of friendship with Russia, he pointed out. Prime Minister husband nuclear scientist Dr Wazed dreamed to install the power plant at Rooppur, he said. In his speech, Prime Minister adviser to Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, BB said that the journey began to install the nuclear power plant. In the initial stage, the installation cost of the power plant is high then the operation of it cost effective then from the other power plants, he said. He informed the reporters that the government is going to formulate a coal

policy this year for extracting and exploration of coal in the country. We will finalise the coal policy following the consent of local people and ensure the compensation of them, he further said. Replying a question, Deputy Director General of ROSATOM NN Spasskiy told the reporters that the government of Bangladesh will finalise the agreement with Russia bypassing others as the technology of Russia comparatively best then other countries. He said that Russia has already signed agreements to install nuclear power plants in India, China, Bulgaria and some other European countries. About the financial terms to install the plant, the ROSATOM policy maker said it would be settled after negotiation between the high-level policy makers. He condoled the death of the Prime Minister Husband and former BAEC Chairman Dr Wazed Mia. Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Gennady P Trotsenko, Russian World Director MM Meyer and Department of International Corporation Director of ROSATOM VN Averkiev were present during agreement signing ceremony. Earlier, Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina provisionally approved the draft MoU. Bangladesh and Russia finalised the draft MOU following a three-day meeting last month in Dhaka where they had agreed on installation of the plant. The first initiative to install nuclear power plant in Bangladesh in Rooppur, Pabna was takenin 1961. Currently 439 power plants are producing 16 percent of total electricity around the world. Bangladesh after Sheikh Hasina Thursday, 05.28.2009

Both the current PM and the Opposition Leader of Bangladesh are looking quite weak in their image and actions now and this is not helping to earn plus points for either of them. What can Sheikh Hasina do given the fact that the PM with all her power is constrained by the limitations of geopolitics, terrorist organisations, aid dependent economy in times of recession and most importantly, a hostile bureaucracy? Well, what would have Mujib, Zia, Ershad, Khaleda or Fakhruddin done in this circumstances had any of them been the ruler now?

Thursday, June 25, 2009 Ashis Roy Mechanical engineering, BUET Email: ashis.latech@gmail.com