Abandoning coal in power generation is right move: CPD

Originally posted in The Financial Express on 14 September 2020

Appreciating the government’s step to abandon coal in power generation, a leading think-tank of the country termed it as ‘a right move.’

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), however, cautioned that the alternative to the coal should not be liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“Shifting from coal to LNG will be a move from one form of fossil-fuel to another form of fossil-fuel use which is also environmentally polluting,” says the CPD’s study paper.

Titled ‘Abandoning Coal in Power Generation: Government Initiatives and Way Forward,’ the study paper is being presented at a virtual media briefing this morning (Monday).

It pointed out that the replacing of coal by LNG would entirely change the energy-mix in power generation and turn Bangladesh’s power sector single LNG-based as its share would rise to 70 per cent.

“The huge import payment for LNG (US$115 million in FY19) would significantly rise if additional LNG-based power plants are included,” the study paper.

The CPD paper mentioned that per unit price of electricity from LNG-based power plant (not blended with domestic gas) would be much higher and it would not be the cheaper option.

Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of CPD, has prepared the report. The study team also includes Tamim Ahmed and A S M Shamim Alam Shibly.

In this connection, CPD mentioned that if abandoned land for coal is used for solar-based power plants, total renewable energy-based power generation will reach 6,331 MW, which would be 10.60 per cent of total generation by 2041.

The think-tank argued that the Ministry of Power and Energy should revise its proposal for the alternate use of sites of coal-fired power plant projects by using those for renewable energy-based power generation projects.

Terming the renewable energy as “the cleanest energy”, CPD said it can save a big amount of foreign currencies as after the establishment of a plant, its regular maintenance cost is negligible and the plant can supply electricity up to 20 years.

CPD added that by abandoning coal-based power plants, the government would be able to save a good amount of money.

Without any allocation disbursed after June this year a total of Tk 256.50 billion may be saved, of which government revenue will be at Tk 71.39 billion and project aid unspent at Tk 185.11 billion.