150MW Plant Adds up Wednesday
Monday, 06 September 2010

A peaking power plant of 150MW capacity is set to come on stream in Chittagong on Wednesday, even though whether the plant will get the fuel supply it needs to run at full capacity is uncertain.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate operations of the dual-fuel plant located in Patia Upazila's Shikolbaha. It will feed the national grid during peak hours, which authorities hope will ease power outages in Chittagong.

The plant will initially run on natural gas and need around 38 million cubic feet of fuel per day (mmcfd) for generation at full capacity.

Power is already being generated at two gas-run plants located at Raujan and Shikolbaha in Chittagong. However, they either produce below capacity or stay shut most of the time because of a lack of gas supply.

PDB's Chittagong office said the district's daily demand during the peak hour is 700MW and the demand falls by 200MW in off-peak hours. But, the national grid only provides 450MW during peak hours and around 380MW during other times.

Chittagong's total production capacity is 490MW with two units in Raujan capable of producing 280MW, four units in Kaptai totalling 170MW and a unit in Shikolbaha of 40MW. The new plant will raise the output capacity to 640MW.

Chittagong PDB's public relations officer Mohammed Moniruzzaman told bdnews24.com: "The daily gas demand at the units at Raujan and Shikolbaha is 90 mmcf. However on Saturday, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd could provide only 85-87 mmcf."

"With the new power plant coming into operation, the demand for gas will be hiked to 128 mmcfd. In such circumstances, the production at the plant can only be launched by shutting down a unit at Raujan."

Already, four fertiliser plants – Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory (PUFF), Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL), Jamuna Fertiliser Company Ltd (JFCL) and Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company Limited (KAFCO) – have been shut down and their supply diverted to power generation.

The construction of the peaking power plant started in January, 2009 and finished on March this year before the test run started on Jun 29.

The project's director Assadullah Miah told bdnews24.com: "The plant is fully prepared to go into commercial production. Even if the plant cannot initially produce at its full capacity due to gas shortage, the start of 'dual-fuel' production will address the deterrent."

A high-ranking official of Chittagong PDB, asking not to be named, told bdnews24.com: "The gas supply to the power plants has been ensured by shutting down KAFCO and CUFL. Even then it is not enough.

"The crisis will resurface when production at the fertiliser plants resumes."

According to Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd, Chittagong's gas demand is 330 mmcfd. However, supply trails the current demand by 90 mmcfd.

Source: bdnews24.com

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