The government has moved to turn a pollution zone into a clean energy source by setting up a floating solar power plant.
The power plant is planned in a water-body of over 200 acres, created after the extraction of coal from Barapukuria coal-mine in Dinajpur.
A recently conducted feasibility study found that a floating solar power plant with 40 to 50 megawatts (MW) capacity can be set up in the lake.
The Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) jointly conducted the study, whose result would be placed before the Power Division soon to take forward the endeavour.
SREDA Chairman Mohammad Alauddin told that floating solar projects can get priority in Bangladesh, since the country has a few barren fields for ground-mounted photovoltaic power plants.
“Instead of destroying farm lands floating solar power plants can be set up to meet the country’s energy needs.”
“The Barapukuria coal mine can be a very lovely project site (for it),” he noted.
Asked who would set up the power plant, Mr Alauddin said the mode of establishment is yet to be decided.
He said the coalmine company, as a public sector entity, itself can set up the power plant, as it owns the land.
Otherwise, it can seek investments from development partners, like the ADB or others, to set up the plant. Besides, the private sector can also be invited to make investments there, he added.
In Bangladesh, only one floating solar power plant of 10 kilowatt capacity has been established so far by a private sector developer – Solar EPC Development Ltd – in a pond of the Mongla Municipality. Setting up of a 10-MW floating solar facility in the pond is awaiting approval procedures.
Earlier, the government also planned to set up a floating solar power plant in Kaptai Lake in Rangamati. Work is underway to solve some issues over environmental aspects to set up the plant.
Mr Alauddin said the Kaptai Lake floating solar power plant is mentioned in the solar energy roadmap for 2041. The lake has the potentials for setting up large-scale solar power plants.
The country has global commitments to clean energy generation.
“To meet the pledges we have to go for floating solar plants in large water-bodies like Kaptai Lake,” he mentioned.
Solar EPC Development Ltd along with partners expressed interest last year to lease out the abandoned pit lakes of Barapukuria coal-mine to set up a floating solar power plant there.
Company managing director Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid told that Barapukuria coal-fired power plant can produce some 230 MW of electricity, while the gridline has double capacity to transmit.
The areas, which the power plant covers, frequently face load-shedding due to low power supply.
Mr Mazid further said setting up a floating solar power plant in the pit lakes would help enhance power supply in that area.
“We want to invest in the planned power plant,” he added.
Presently some 724.13 MW of electricity is produced from renewable sources, which is around 3.0 per cent of the country’s total power generation capacity. The government set a target to generate 10 per cent clean electricity by 2020.
- The Financial Express