PM To Inaugurate Matarbari Coal-Fired Power Plant in December 2023

PM To Inaugurate Matarbari Coal-Fired Power Plant in December 2023

The first unit of the Matarbari coal-fired power plant in Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar district, is gearing up to go into production by December, marking a significant milestone for the nation’s energy sector. This plant will add an impressive 600 MW of electricity to the national grid, alleviating power shortages and meeting the growing demand for energy in Bangladesh.

According to project officials, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the Matarbari coal-fired power plant, underlining the project’s significance and government support for the initiative. The plant’s construction has been diligently underway for seven years, backed by funding from Japan, and it now stands on a sprawling 1,414-acre site encompassing the Matarbari and Dhalghat unions of Maheshkhali upazila.

In a notable event, a vessel carrying 64,300 metric tons of coal from Indonesia arrived on 23rd June, further propelling the project toward completion. As part of this venture, extensive port infrastructure and a coal jetty have been developed to facilitate efficient coal unloading from ships.

Visiting the site, it becomes evident how the massive project has transformed the landscape of the area. The Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCL), responsible for implementing the project, has made significant progress in the construction of the coal discharge jetty. Already, vessels have commenced operations at the jetty, ensuring a seamless process for coal transportation.

To generate electricity at full capacity, a daily requirement of 13,104 tons of coal has been estimated. Coal discharge jetties and silos have been constructed to meet this demand, with enormous silos storing coal sufficient for 60 days. The coal jetty can accommodate mother vessels with a capacity of up to 80,000 tonnes, with unloading expected to take one and a half to two days.

Environmental concerns have been taken into account, with two separate ash ponds designed to store ash produced during the plant’s 25-year lifetime. The project has set aside 90 acres and 600 acres of land for these ponds. Additionally, 80 acres of land have been allocated for coal storage.

The Matarbari coal-fired power plant was made possible through a loan agreement signed between the Government of Bangladesh and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in June 2014. With an estimated project cost of Tk51,800 crores, JICA will provide Tk43,921 crore as project support, while the remaining Tk 7,933 crore will come from the funds of the Bangladesh Government and CPGCBL.

Impressively, 95% of the jetty and physical infrastructure work has already been completed, with overall physical infrastructure reaching a completion rate of 90%. In a recent statement, Executive Director Nazmul Huq expressed confidence in meeting the project deadlines. The first unit of the Matarbari coal-fired power plant is slated for commissioning in January 2024. Still, there are optimistic expectations of achieving full operational capacity by December this year, adding 600 MW to the grid ahead of the inauguration.

Notably, the second unit is expected to be commissioned in the following July, ensuring a continuous supply of electricity to the national grid. Regarding the project’s environmental impact, Nazmul Huq assured that all necessary measures have been taken to prevent pollution. The coal will be handled efficiently, with minimal environmental impact, as it moves directly from the jetty to the power plant.

Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner, Muhammad Shaheen Imran, emphasized the project’s significance as a priority initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, reaffirming the government’s commitment to bolstering the nation’s energy infrastructure.

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