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Dhaka Friday,  May 14, 2021

Barapukuria Power Plant stopped due to Lack of Coal

Mahfuj Risad

Power generation from the Barapukuria Coal-fired Thermal Power Plant of Dinajpur has completely stopped on yesterday for an indefinite period. Prior to the shutdown, the power plant was operating on stock coal-supply which came to an end unexpectedly on Sunday which forced the last unit of the plant to stop its operation. The shut down will chop down the country’s power generation by around 450 MW.

Sources from the Power Development Board said that, they had to completely shut down the plant because of the short supply of coal from the nearby Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL). Again, sources from the coal mining authority informed that, it would take one more month to provide a new supply of coal to the power plant. So, it is assumable that, the power plant has nearly no chance to restart its operation within the next one month. Due to this unexpected shutdown of the power plant, the northern region of Bangladesh may experience unusual power cuts or low voltage problems and also the whole country will see a negative impact of it, said experts.

PDB officials said that, they are enhancing the production of the gas and oil based power plants to counter the shut down of the Barapukuria plant. Petrobangla also promised, they will also increase the gas supply to the power plants of the northern part of the country.

According to the source of Petrobangla, the power plant of Raujan of Chittagong is now in an idle stage and this unused gas will be supplied to the northern part of the country. Again, they have also planned to raise the supply of gas to the power plants.

The coal production in the Barapukuria coal mine was suspended under a programme to change the mining shaft. But the PDB, who is operating the power plant was assured by the BCMCL authorities of continuing the coal supply from the reserved coal during the closure of the mine operation. Officials said the shortage of coal suddenly came to their notice a few days back when a team from PDB visited the coal mine and found that there was no adequate reserve of coal in the yard of the mine.

As per the official investigation, the stock was found to have a shortage of 148,000 tonnes of coal and finally, Petrobangla has formed a three-member inquiry committee, headed by its director (mining) Quamruzzaman, to investigate the issue of the coal shortage and suspended a number of BCMCL officials.

The power plant has three units, two of them having 125 MW capacity each and the third and the biggest one has 275 MW of power generation capacity. One of the 125 MW capacity unit was closed throughout the entire month and the other one was merely operational while the biggest one was generating only around 130 MW of power since the last couple of days due to a shortage of coal supply. All these 3 units require around 5 thousand tons of coal on a daily basis for their full capacity operation.

The mine shaft changing started on 29th of June of this year and it would be completed by the end of the month of August.

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