Energy Crisis Impedes Growth by 2%
Friday, 25 June 2010

Electricity and gas crises are severely hampering economic development to the tune of 2 percent loss in GDP growth.

They also cause production loss of around $1.33 billion to export-oriented industries every year.

The statistics were presented at a seminar on "The impact of power and gas crisis on the export oriented manufacturers' sector" arranged by Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Power Development Board (PDB) chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir told the seminar that they could meet only 75 percent of the total electricity demands.

The board is depending mostly on oil-based power generations, which are compelling it to hike power price, he said, adding the price would rise further in the future.

Speaking as the chief guest, Alamgir said they have plans to switch to coal-based power generation in phases.

Mentioning that the government would build coal-based power plants of 2600MW capacity, he said local coals should be used in producing electricity.

The government has plans for increasing power generation by 5,000 mw in next five years, he added.

Alamgir said the GDP growth rate might have increased by 2-3 percent had uninterrupted electricity supply been ensured.

Dutch ambassador Alphons JAJMG Hennekens stressed the need for furthering bilateral cooperation in power and energy sector.

He suggested establishing coal-based power plants, as nuclear power plants involve huge investment.

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Fazlul Haque said the export-oriented industry is being affected badly by the power and electricity crises.

"Failure in on-time delivery often results in cancellation of export orders. The buyers are shifting to India, China and Vietnam," he said.

Haque said many industries are using diesel generators to carry on their production, but use of such generators is making the production expensive.

He said the power crisis could be reduced significantly if coals in Fulbari mine were extracted through open pit mining.

Prof Ijaz Hossain of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology presented the keynote paper.

He said the reserves of gas would run out within next 10 years. "So, alternatives should be found out."

Ijaz said there would be no problems until 2050 if coal- and gas-based electricity generation could be ensured.

Though the number of power plants increased recently, generation has remained static because of fuel crisis, he observed.

Advocating open-pit mining, he said: "No more than 30 percent coals can be extracted from underground mining. But up to 80 percent coals can be extracted in open-pit mining."

Source: bdnews24.com

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