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BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants: Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible

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Abstract

The Government of Bangladesh has extended the PPA period of RPP and QRPPs up to two and a half times more than their recommended safe operating lifetime. These old and outdated rentals will create an additional burden of BDT 2,726 crore (USD 317 million) annually, with BDT 594 crore coming from capacity charges. As a result of the Russian war on Ukraine, oil prices rose significantly to $140 per barrel on March 7. Prior to this price increase, it was estimated that the cost of electricity would increase at least 17% and 67% for DFG and HFO based power plants respectively due to their higher cost of fuel and additional capacity charges. With soaring oil prices resulting from the Russian war on Ukraine, these costs are now projected to be much higher. Obsolete Rental power plants have sought further extension of their PPA period which will create a double negative impact on the Bangladesh economy and environment.
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants
Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
Hasan Mehedia
aMember Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED)
ARTICLE INFO
ABSTRACT
Keywords
Rental Power Plant, Quick Rental
Power Plant, Independent Power
Producer, Capacity Charge,
Energy Efficiency, Economic Risk
Published on
15 March 2022
Published by
Bangladesh Working Group on
External Debt (BWGED)
The Government of Bangladesh has extended the PPA period of RPP and
QRPPs up to two and a half times more than their recommended safe
operating lifetime. These old and outdated rentals will create an additional
burden of BDT 2,726 crore (USD 317 million) annually, with BDT 594 crore
coming from capacity charges. As a result of the Russian war on Ukraine, oil
prices rose significantly to $140 per barrel on March 7. Prior to this price
increase, it was estimated that the cost of electricity would increase at least
17% and 67% for DFG and HFO based power plants respectively due to
their higher cost of fuel and additional capacity charges. With soaring oil
prices resulting from the Russian war on Ukraine, these costs are now
projected to be much higher. Obsolete Rental power plants have sought
further extension of their PPA period which will create a double negative
impact on the Bangladesh economy and environment.
Expected citation: Mehedi, Hasan (2022). “BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants: Rental and Quick Power Plants
must be Phased Out as soon as possible”. Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED): March 2022
1. The Rental Power Plants
To address a serious electricity crisis nearly 15
years ago, the Government of Bangladesh (GOB)
approved a plan to install 14 Rental Power Plants
(RPP) and 18 Quick Rental Power Plants (QRPP).
They were referenced in the Policy Guidelines for
Enhancement of Private Participation in the Power
Sector 2008 (MOPEMR 2008b), consistent with the
3-Year Roadmap for Power Sector Reform
2008-2011 (MOPEMR 2008a). Three categories of
RPP and QRPPs were introduced under the new
policy guidelines: (i) RPPs recommended for
operation of 15 years which were cheaper than the
other two categories (ii) Expensive RPP and QRPPs
for a period of five years and (iii) extremely
expensive RPP & QRPPs recommended for
operation for only three years. Thirteen of these
RPP and QRPPs currently remain in operation in
Bangladesh even after 15 years.
To ensure certain implementation of the projects
no matter where they were proposed for
construction, the GOB passed the Quick
Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply
(Special Provision) (Amendment) Act (QEESA) in
2010. This law provided immunity to the RPPs and
QRPPs from environmental laws designed to
protect human health and safety (Mehedi et al.
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
2018). It also allowed these plants to be built and
operated without adequate oversight of their
financial impact on the cost of power for
Bangladeshi businesses and consumers. After the
initial Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) was
completed they were repeatedly renewed under
QEESA even though it was to facilitate the
establishment of power supply facilities and not
their continued operation once adequate power
capacity was achieved. On average, the PPAs of the
RPP and QRPPs were extended two and a half
times longer than their recommended efficient
operational life.
In October 2020, the GOB wisely decided not to
extend the tenure of any RPP or QRPP for the
economic and environmental health of the country.
(Kakon 2020). But the decision was never
implemented thanks to pressure from business
groups who profited from the continued operation
of these outdated power plants that were no longer
needed to meet Bangladesh’s energy demands. In
March 2021, the GOB caved in under pressure from
these influential business groups and extended the
PPA period of RPP and QRPPs putting private
profits benefiting a few wealthy operators above
the economic health of the country. It did however
update the PPAs to include No Electricity No
Payment (NENP) provisions (Dhaka Tribune 2021)
which eliminated capacity charges for some power
plants sitting idle, but not all. (FE 2021b). This did
reduce some of the negative economic impact of
these old plants and was an improvement on past
PPAs. However it did not eliminate the plants as
originally recommended and thereby failed to
harvest the full economic, environmental and
health benefits that would have accrued to the
people of Bangladesh. The minor changes to the
PPAs were established by the Minister of State for
Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MOPEMR) in
September 2021 (bdnews24 2021) and confirmed
by the energy adviser to the prime minister (TBS
2021).
The GOB amended QEESA in September 2021 and
inexplicably extended the act for another 5 years
(Daily Star 2021a) even though Bangladesh had
soared far beyond the power crisis of the early
2000’s to a very large oversupply of power capable
of meeting demand for several years into the
future. Specifically, the GOB extended the PPA
period of 3 RPPs and 2 QRPPs which have 207.5
Megawatt (MW) of installed capacity (NewAge
2021d). Two small IPPs had previously received
extensions until finalisation of the deal for PPA
extension. Additionally, at least 5 expensive HFO
based QRPPs with 457 MW capacity got the initial
nod to extend the PPA period. Another 8 power
plants, which are near to expiration, are also trying
to get extensions of their PPA tenure.
2. Overcapacity & Economic Risks
As of 28 February 2022, total grid connected
installed capacity was 20,985 MW with a total
demand of only 10,000 MW. Overcapacity reached
52.3% with only 48.7% of installed capacity being
used across all sectors of Bangladesh society. There
are so many power plants now that only 38% of
total generation capacity - 191.3 million kilowatt
(kWh) - was generated.
In FY 2020-21, the installed capacity was 22,031
MW with a maximum demand of only 13,792 MW.
This massive oversupply obligated Bangladesh
Power Development Board (BPDB) to pay BDT
13,155.21 crore (USD 1.55 billion) in capacity
charges for the idle power plants.
According to BPDB power generation construction
progress reports up to February 2022, nineteen
power plants with an installed capacity of 7,374
will begin commercial operation in 2022. This will
further increase estimated installed capacity to
26,851 MW with maximum demand projected to
reach 15,800 MW by the end of the year. It is
important to note however that projected demand
forecasts have greatly overestimated power
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 2
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
demand growth, resulting in an ever increasing gap
between capacity and utilisation. Assuming that the
forecasted maximum demand has not been once
again grossly overestimated and the projected
demand does reach an unlikely 15,800 MW, by the
end of 2022 there will be a whopping 11,051 MW
of installed capacity that will sit idle. As a result,
BPDB will have to pay BDT around 26,533 crore
(USD 3.12 billion) in capacity charges for idle
power plants - an all new record high. If the
forecasted maximum demand does not reach
15,800 MW next year, the capacity charges will be
even higher.
The bottom line is that the failure to retire RPPs
and QRPPs and the extensions of their PPAs far
beyond their recommended operational lifetime
will pile on even more capacity charges to be paid
by the people of Bangladesh in FY 2021-22.
According to the new agreements extending PPAs
of IPP, RPP and QRPPs, BPDB will have to pay
minimum BDT around 321 crore (USD 37.33 million)
annually to purchase electricity from these power
plants. In addition to that, BDT around 1,522 crore
will be paid for 5 Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) based
power plants which are committed to be extended.
It is important to note that HFO is 393% more
expensive than DFG. Unless a NENP Provision is
adopted equally and fairly for all power plants
operating in Bangladesh regardless of which
wealthy influential business owns and operates
them, BPDB will have to pay around BDT 567 crore
annually in capacity charges for these HFO based
power plants. An additional BDT 27 crore will have
to be paid as capacity charge of SIPPs.
The economic life of most of the reciprocating
engines and generators were finished before
installation as RPPs and QRPPs in Bangladesh
(Chintaa 2010). As a result they inefficiently
consume more fuel than regular power plants.
According to the Petrobangla report, on average,
small RPPs and QRPPs required 0.265 Million Cubic
Feet Domestic Fossil Gas per Day (Mmscfd) per MW
which is 57.4% higher than the requirement of
combined cycle power plants (0.168 MMscfd).
When economic life of RPPs and QRPPs were
reached, they became more costly to operate from
the aspect of energy efficiency. As a result, the RPPs
and QRPPs emerged as high emitting
infrastructures in the power sector. So, the citizens
are getting the most polluting and highly
expensive electricity under unjust deals between
BPDB and private companies.
In addition to the power plants that received
approvals for extension, there are 8 power plants,
with capacity of 517 MW, currently lobbying the
GOB to extend their PPA period for 2-5 years. If the
GOB caves into this pressure again, the estimated
increased costs for capacity payments and power
generation will be even higher than forecast.
3. Life of Rentals already extended
Bhola 34.5 MW Domestic Fossil Gas (DFG) based
RPP started its commercial operation on 12 July
2009 with an initial PPA for three years/ After 13
years of operation and multiple extensions the
current PPA was supposed to expire in July 2022 .
But on 5 January 2022, the Cabinet Committee on
Government Purchase (CCGP) extended the PPA
period of the power plant for another four years till
July 2026. The Plant is sponsored by Venture
Energy Resources Limited (VERL) under Sinha
Group (Dhaka Tribune 2022). The power plant will
cost BDT around 90 crore annually for electricity of
which BDT 32 crore is capacity charge.
Earlier on 29 December 2021, the CCGP further
extended the PPA period of two RPPs and two
QRPPs which have a capacity of 173 MW. The
period of these power plants expired at least 5
years earlier (Sajid & Kashem 2021). The new
extension was permitted under NENP policy.
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 3
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
Ashuganj 53 MW DFG based QRPP, sponsored by
United Energy Limited (UEL) under United Group,
started its commercial operation on 22 June 2011
with an initial PPA for three years. After additional
extensions the current PPA was supposed to expire
in June 2021 after 10 years of operation. But the
CCGP further extended its PPA period for another
five years till June 2026 at a rate of 2.43 per kWh.
BPDB will pay BDT around 91 crore annually and
452 crore over five years to offtake electricity from
the power plant.
Bogura 20 MW DFG based RPP, sponsored by
Energyprima Limited (EPL) under Hosaf Group,
started its commercial operation on 13 November
2011 with an initial PPA for five years. After several
extensions the current PPA was supposed to expire
in November 2021 after 10 years of operation.
However, CCGP further extended its PPA period for
three more years until November 2024 at a rate of
BDT 2.03 per kWh. BPDB will pay approximately
BDT 18 crore annually and a total of BDT 54 crore
for the next three years to offtake electricity from
the power plant.
Fenchuganj 50 MW DFG based RPP, also sponsored
by EPL, started its commercial operation on 15
February 2012 with an initial PPA for five years.
After an extension the current PPA was supposed to
expire in February 2022 after 10 years of operation.
But the CCGP further extended its period for
another three years until February 2025 at a rate
of BDT 2.12 per kWh. BPDB will have to pay BDT
around 47 crore annually and a total of BDT 141
crore for the next f three years to offtake electricity
from the power plant.
Kumargaon 50 MW DFG based QRPP, also
sponsored by EPL, started its commercial operation
on 23 July 2008 with an initial PPA for three years.
After multiple extensions the current PPA was
supposed to expire in July 2021 after 13 years of
operation. However, CCGP further extended its PPA
period for one year till 16 December 2022 at a rate
of BDT 1.97 per kWh. BPDB will have to pay BDT 43
crore in the period of one year to offtake electricity
from the power plant.
4. The Voracious HFO based Rentals
Three major power producers of Bangladesh —
Orion Group, Summit Group and United Group —
have been pushing for a five-year PPA period
extension for five liquid fuel based QRPPs with 457
MW of installed capacity (Tuhin 2021). They also
applied to the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange
Commission (BSEC) to recommend for extension as
they are listed in Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and
Chattagram Stock Exchange (CSE) claiming that
individual shareholders may face loss as a
consequence of imminent retirement (Rahman
2021a). The BSEC also supported their position
(NewAge 2021a).
In response, GOB proposed to extend the PPA
period under NENP policy (FE 2021a) and sent the
proposal to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory
Commission (BERC) which cancelled the proposal
as the power plants are based on liquid fuel and
demanded capacity charge (Rahman 2021b). But
the sponsors are still negotiating by using political
influence to include capacity charges in the
extended period. Earlier in December 2021, BPDB
agreed to pay USD 0.0173 (BDT 1.49) against USD
0.0278 (BDT 2.39) demanded by the sponsors as
capacity charge per kWh. But, as of February 2022,
BPDB agreed to pay the capacity charge as per
sponsors’ demand (Ali 2022).
Khulna 115 MW HFO based Quick Rental Power
Plant (QRPP), also known as KPCL-II, sponsored by
Khulna Power Company Limited (KPCL) and is
equally owned by Summit Group and United Group,
started its commercial operation on 1 June 2011
with an initial PPA of five years. The PPA expired in
May 2021 after 10 years of operation after an
expiration notification was sent by BPDB (NewAge
2021b). BPDB paid around BDT 354 crore per year
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 4
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
for electricity from the plant in which BDT 158
crore were capacity charges.
Madanganj 102 MW HFO-based QRPP, operated by
Summit Narayanganj Power Limited (SNPL) under
Summit Group, started its commercial operation on
1 April 2011 with an initial PPA for five years. The
extended PPA expired in March 2021 after 10 years
of operation. BPDB paid BDT around 332 crore per
year for electricity from the plant f in which BDT 92
crore were capacity charges.
Meghnaghat 100 MW HFO-based Quick Rental
Power Plant (QRPP), operated by Orion Power
Meghnaghat Limited (OPML) — formally known as
IEL Consortium Limited under Orion Group, started
its commercial operation on 8 May 2011 with an
initial PPA for five years. After an extension the
current PPA expired in May 2021 after 10 years of
operation. BPDB paid BDT 334 crore per year for
electricity from the plant in which BDT 93 crore
were capacity charges.
Nawapara 40 MW HFO based QRPP is also
sponsored by KPCL. It is also known as Khanjahan
Ali Power Company Limited and KPCL-III. The
power plant started its commercial operation on 29
May 2011 with an initial PPA of five years. After an
extension the PPA expired in May 2021 after 10
years of operation when an expiration notice was
sent by BPDB (NewAge 2021b). BPDB paid
approximately BDT around 153 crore per year for
electricity from the plant in which BDT 60 crore
was capacity charges.
Siddhirganj 100 MW HFO-based QRPP, operated by
Dutch Bangla Power & Associates Limited (DBPAL)
under Orion Group, started its commercial
operation on 21 July 2011 with an initial PPA for
five years. After an extension the PPA expired in
July 2021 after 10 years of operation. BPDB paid
approximately BDT 319 crore per year for
electricity from the plant in which BDT 131 crore
was capacity charges.
5. Even the IPPs got Extension
Summit Power Limited (SPL), a subsidiary of
Summit Group, applied for a PPA extension for the
Madhabdi 24 MW DFG based small IPP (Unit-II) in
February 2021 before shutting it down in December
2021 after 15 years of operation (Daily Star 2021b).
On the same date, the sponsor also applied for a
PPA extension for the Chandina 14 MW Small IPP
(Unit-II) which expired on 15 November 2021 after
15 years of operation (NewAge 2021c). In response
to the application, Bangladesh Rural Electrification
Board (BREB) allowed SPL to restart both of the
power plants on 7 February 2022 and continue
generation for an unspecified time period until the
application for the renewal of PPA (TBS 2022) can
be finalised.
6. The Long Queue of Greed
Several private power producers are also in the
queue of applications to extend their PPA period
from two to five years. Most of them have already
enjoyed two or three extensions in the last 10
years. Some of them are:
Ghorashal 78 MW DFG based QRPP, sponsored by
Max Power Limited under Max Group, started its
commercial operation on 27 May 2011 with an
initial PPA three years. The last extension expired
on 8 January 2021 after 10 years of operation. The
sponsor company has already applied for yet
another extension even though there is more than
40% unutilized generation capacity in Bangladesh
now and power from this plant is NOT needed.
Amnura 50 MW HFO based QRPP, sponsored by
Sinha Power Generation Company Limited under
Sinha Group, started its commercial operation on
12 January 2012 with an initial PPA of three years.
The extended PPA expired on 11 January 2022
after 10 years of operation. The sponsor company
has already applied for further extension even
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 5
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
though excess capacity means power is not needed
from this plant..
Bhola 95 MW DFG based QRPP, sponsored by
Aggreko Energy Solution Limited under UK-based
Aggreko International, started its commercial
operation on 31 May 2011 with an initial PPA of
three years. The extended PPA will expire on 17
March 2022 after 11 years of operation. Due to
excess capacity further extension of this plant is
not needed.
Juldha 100 MW HFO based QRPP, sponsored by
Acorn Infrastructure Service Limited under Bangla
Trac Limited, started its commercial operation on
26 March 2012 with an initial PPA of five years.
The extended PPA will expire on 25 March 2022
after 10 years of operation. The sponsor company
has already applied for further extension even
though its power is not needed..
Keraniganj 100 MW HFO based QRPP, owned by
PowerPac-Mutiara Keraniganj Power Limited under
PowerPac Holdings Limited of Sikder Group, started
its commercial operation on 27 March 2012 with an
initial PPA of 5 years. The extended PPA is set to
expire on 26 March 2022 after 10 years of
operation. The sponsor company also applied for
further extension of its PPA period even though
power is no longer needed from this highly
polluting power plant.
Katakhali 50 MW HFO based QRPP, sponsored by
Northern Power Solution Limited under ENA Group,
started its commercial operation on 22 May 2012
with an initial PPA of 5 years. The extended PPA
will expire on 21 May 2022 after 10 years of
operation. The sponsor company is seeking further
extension of the PPA period from GOB even though
this is yet another polluting plant whose power is
not needed.
Unit 2 of the Ashulia 33 MW DFG based small IPP ,
also sponsored by SPL, started its commercial
operation on 4 December 2007 with PPA
extensions spanning 15 years. The current PPA
will expire in December 2022. The PPA for the
smaller 11 MW Unit 1 of the Ashulia small IPP will
expire on 31 August 2023 after operating for 20
years.
Chandina 11 MW DFG based small IPP (Unit-I), also
sponsored by SPL, started its commercial operation
on 1 September 2003 with a PPA for 15 years. The
PPA period of the power plant will expire on 31
August 2023 after 20 years of operation.
7. Conclusion
As the country is experiencing serious overcapacity,
the rental and quick rental power plants must be
phased out as soon as possible without any
exceptions in order to reduce the unsustainably
large and rising operating losses. Given the record
setting high oil prices caused by the Russia war on
Ukraine, oil based liquid fuels HFO and HSD power
plants will have to retire on the due date. The PPAs
weren’t calculated with oil prices that are now
more than $140 per barrel (Aljazeera 2022).
It is appreciable that the ministry has taken the
NENP policy. But this policy will not help now
because other existing power plants will have to be
kept idle if RPP & QRPPs generate electricity.
However the NENP policy must be followed in
extending the tenure of any power plant.
A Clean Air Act must be endorsed with the option
of imposing Green Tax to control emissions and
penalise the power plants which emit excessive
CO2, SOx and NOx to reduce emission from the
power sector.
Immediate implementation and rapid installation of
distributed and utility scale RE Projects on unused
lands is required to reduce pressure on economy
and environment. To fulfil this target, significant
allocation for RE should be made in the Annual
Development Programme (ADP).
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 6
BPDB Trapped by Expensive Rental Power Plants Rental and Quick Power Plants must be phased out as soon as possible
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Edited by: Donna Marie Lisenby and Vidya Dinker
BWGED Fact Sheet | March 2022 Page: 7
bwged.bd@gmail.com |https://bwged.blogspot.com
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