The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved the proposal of a Chinese-Bangladeshi consortium to set up a 55MW wind power plant on build-own-operate basis at Mongla in Bagerhat.
As per the proposal, the Consortium of Envision Energy, (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd., China, SQ Trading and Engineering, Bangladesh and Envision Renewable Energy Limited, Hong Kong will set up the plant under a 20-year contract with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).
State-owned BPDB will purchase the electricity from the plant at a levelized tariff of 13.20 Cents, equivalent to Tk10.56 per kilowatt hour (each unit) over the period of 20 years.
The government will pay a total of Tk2035.12 crore for the entire contract period against its purchase of electricity from the maiden private wind power project, said Saleh Ahmed, additional secretary of the Cabinet Division, while briefing reporters on the cabinet body meeting.
The Chinese-Bangladeshi consortium was the lone bidder to participate in the tender process invited for the project, said a BPDB official.
According to the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), only three small wind energy plants, having a total capacity of 2.9MW, have been installed by the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) so far against its target of setting up wind power projects having total capacity of 1152MW by 2020.
Earlier, BPDB signed a contract in March, 2015 to award a 60MW wind power project to US-DK Green Energy (BD), a joint venture between Taylor Engineering Group of USA, ph-consulting group of Denmark and Multiplex Green Energy of Bangladesh, to set up the plant at Kurushkul, southeast of Moheshkhali River in Cox’s Bazar.
But the sponsor failed to implement the project in the last 5 years.
Mongla 55MW wind power project is one of the three similar projects undertaken by the BPDB in recent years. The other two project were planned for Chandpur and Inani beach in Cox’s Bazar.
But its move failed to attract participation of wide-range bidders.
“Only a single bidder — Chinese firm Envision Energy — participated in the tender process for two locations and finally emerged qualified for only one location, Mongla. Again, the government re-tendered for the remaining two locations — Inani beach and Chandpur”, said a BPDB opfficial.
The bid submission timeline was extended to December 31, said Md Zahir Ahmed, a senior official of the Bangladesh Power Development Board, which floated the tender. Earlier BPDB invited bids for a 100MW offshore wind power project but could not find takers.
Officials at Sreda and BPDB said a number of studies were conducted in collaboration with international donor agencies to assess the wind energy potentials across the country.
The latest one was conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with financial support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which identified nine locations, having wind energy potentials across the country.
The locations, having average wind speed between 5-6 metre per second at a height of over 60-80 metre, are Lalpur of Natore in Rajshahi, Chandpur, Sitakundu and Parkay Beach in Chittagong, Gouripur in Mymensingh, Madhupur Tea Estate in Habigonj, Dacop in Khulna near Mongla port, Inani Beach in Cox’s Bazar and Badarganj in Rangpur.
The NREL, in its report submitted to the Power Division, also mentioned that the country has a potential of 30,000MW of wind energy as there are 20,000 square kilometre of areas where wind speed is 5.75-7.75 metre per second.
Experts in the renewable energy industry blamed the implementing agency’s failure to present location-specific data and information on wind energy in a credible way before potential investors.
“A number of studies were carried out by different agencies to evaluate wind resource potentials, but no follow-up process was maintained to conduct the subsequent research to find the location-wise detail and specific data,” said Siddique Zobair, former Sreda member.
When half-done data were presented before the potential investors, he said, they expressed doubt about the feasibility of the project and their financiers were not convinced with the project’s viability. “That’s why the response in wind energy is so poor,” Zobair told UNB.
Shariar Ahmed Chowdhury, a professor at United International University, said wind energy is very sensitive. “If data lacks 10 percent accuracy, it has a big impact and there may be a variation of 30-40 percent in the final output,” he said.