The Rampal thermal power plant resumed production on Wednesday night after a month of closure due to a coal shortage.
At 11:03 pm on Wednesday a unit of the power plant was restarted, according to Anwarul Azim, deputy general manager of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited.
The plant generated 100 MW of power at night, 200 MW in the morning and will move up to 400 MW in accordance with grid demand.
On Feb 9 a coal-bearing ship carrying 30,000 tonnes of coal arrived at the jetty to the power plant. Another ship carrying 55,000 tonnes of coal is scheduled to arrive on Feb 18.
The first unit of the power plant launched production on Dec 17, but 27 days later, it was halted on Jan 14 due to the coal shortage.
“To keep one unit operational, we need 5,000 tonnes of coal per day. It takes 7-10 days for a ship to arrive at the jetty from Indonesia. However, with the stocks we currently have, we can operate for 16-17 days as 30,000 tonnes of coal are in the jetty and another 55,000 tonnes are on the way.”
The two-unit 1,320 MW power plant was built with joint investments from Bangladesh and India. Each unit at the plant can produce 660 MW of power. The second unit of the plant is to launch in June.
The Rampal power plant was opened to ensure power supply to Dhaka, according to officials from the Power Division. The plant supplies about 450 MW of power to the capital daily, while the rest goes to Khulna.
As power consumption is slightly lower in winter, the shutdown of the Rampal plant has not had too sharp an effect, but as the demand for electricity continues to rise, its absence from the grid is being felt in the capital and in other parts of the country. Load shedding has increased in some areas. The power plant has resumed production as the demand for power will rise sharply with the onset of the irrigation season and the coming summer.
Officials at the plant say its first unit began production on a trial basis on Aug 15. It was then added to the national grid on Dec 17 to alleviate the power crisis in the capital. The plant has the capacity to store enough coal for three months.
Though the plant’s rules specified that it was required to keep at least a month’s worth of coal in stock, the stock ran out before it shut down production.