Bangladesh, in a bid to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity to ensure future power supply, has announced it will place on the market invitations for international tenders to help the country build four more coal-fired power plants.
"We will invite bids from sponsors within the next couple of weeks to build four coal-fired power plants," ASM Alamgir Kabir, chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), was quoted as saying by The Financial Express daily. He did not specify how much the entire project could cost.
The new coal-based power plants, which will initially utilise imported coal, will be built near seashore and river coasts in Chittagong, Khulna and Munshiganj, Mr Kabir said. Each coal-based power plant would be 300 MW to 600 MW.
"Initially the coal-fired power plants would run with imported coal. Local coal will be utilised once the country starts extracting local coal significantly," Mr Kabir said.
Mr Kabir also pointed out that the electricity tariff that will be imposed for the new four coal-fired power plants will be lower than those of oil-based power plants.
The new coal-based power plants form part of the Bangladeshi government's efforts to boost electricity generation as well as and spread the country's energy sources amid diminishing natural gas reserves, Mr Kabir said.
The country has only one coal-fired power plant, a 250-MW capacity located in the country's northern Dinajpur region. It utilises coal from the Barapukuria coalmine.
But the Barapukuria coal-fired power plant, since commissioning, could not amply and efficiently produce electricity at its maximum capacity due to technical glitches.
In December 2011, the Bangladeshi government awarded to local and Chinese joint venture firm Orion-Long King contracts to build three coal-fired power plants that will generate a total of 1,087.34 MW of electricity. The three coal-fired power plants will be constructed on a build, own and operate scheme.
The consortium will build one 522 MW coal-fired power plant at Mawa in Munshiganj, plus two others in Chittagong and Khulna with a generation capacity of 282.67 MW each.