Dollar crisis casts shadow over operation of Rampal power plant

| Updated: February 23, 2023 08:50:31

Dollar crisis casts shadow over operation of Rampal power plant

The 1320 MW Rampal power plant has resumed its partial production, but officials still worry about its uninterrupted operation due to dollar crisis that may again disrupt the import of coal, the plant's main fuel.

The Unit-1 of the coal-fired plant resumed production from Wednesday after a month-long shutdown caused by shortage of coal.

The plant is still under a test run that started in August before being discontinued last month, reports UNB.

A kind of concern was expressed by the officials of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL) that has been engaged in implementing the power plant project.

During a briefing session on Thursday, Subhash Chandra Pandey, the project director of the BIFPCL for the Rampal plant said there is no substitute to coal import if the plant is to be kept operational.

"The coal used in the plant is of high standard and not available in the subcontinent", he told a group of energy reporters who visited the plant.

According to official sources, Unit-1, having 660 MW capacity was forced to shut down on January 14 due to shortage of coal supply.

The authorities of the power plant were unable to open any letter of credit (LC) to import coal due to the dollar crisis.

After a lot of persuasion at the government's policy level, LC opening was allowed for importing coal and the supplier sent a consignment of 30,000 tonnes.

BIFPCL officials said the supply of foreign exchange required for import of coal for the plant is not under their control.

The BIFPCL, a joint venture of Indian state-owned NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), is the owner and operator of the Rampal power plant.

The official said another consignment of 50,000 tonnes of coal is also coming to the country soon.

With the current stock of coal, the plant can run until April this year, said the project director adding that the unit-1 needs about 4500 tonnes of coal per day to keep operational with full capacity.

"The unit -2 is expected to come into operation in June this year and at that time it will require about 9,000 tonnes of coal per day", the official of the project said.

He said though the unit-1 is now under test run as the BPDB which has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the BIFPCL has not given the go-ahead yet for start of the commercial operation of the plant.

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