After undergoing test runs for about five months, the first unit of the Payra power plant started commercial operation in May 2020
The 1,320MW coal-fired Payra power plant in Patuakhali district's Kalapara upazila is ready to operate at full capacity.
Officials said the second unit of the plant, a joint venture between Bangladesh and China, has attained its generation capacity of 660MW over the past three months and is now ready for commercial operation.
“The second unit is ready. We’ll soon put forward our proposal to the state-owned Power Bangladesh Development Board (PBDB) to start operation,” Shah Abdul Maula, project director of Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), told UNB.
BCPCL, a joint venture between state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (NWPGCL) and China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation, has set up the plant at $2 billion as part of a development partnership.
After undergoing test runs for about five months, the first unit of the Payra power plant started commercial operation in May 2020.
And if both the units are allowed to operate simultaneously, the plant will jointly generate 1320MW electricity, thus setting a milestone in the country’s power sector. Thus far, a maximum of 450MW of power has been generated from a single power plant in Bangladesh.
Though Power Transmission Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) has recently undertaken a number of transmission projects to facilitate evacuation of electricity from the Payra power project, officials are not hopeful of getting a nod for simultaneous operation of the two units.
"This is because transmission lines are not yet synchronized. We will go for alternative operation of the two units," an official said.
These transmission projects include construction of 160km 400kV double circuit line from Payra plant to Gopalganj, 164.6km Aminbazar–Mawa–Gopalganj-Mongla 400kV double circuit line and 9.4km river-crossing line close to Padma bridge.
PGCB officials said all these projects are being implemented targeting the power evacuation from both the Payra and Rampal plants and these will cost about Tk4,650 crore, of which Tk3,294 crore will be spent on the Payra plant transmission facilities.
However, the 9.4km river-crossing line close to Padma bridge has not been progressing in an expected pace, which is creating an obstacle for evacuation of entire electricity from the Payra power plant, officials said.
Admitting the delay, PGCB managing director Golam Kibria said the deadline to implement all the Payra-linked transmission projects is March 2021. "But the delay in Padma bridge work due to Covid-19 could push the deadline back to December 2021."