Only 50 percent of the population in Bangladesh has access to electricity — and those with access often experience power outages. In order to improve current living conditions, the government has committed to ensuring access to affordable and reliable electricity to all citizens by 2021.
Current Energy Sources are Being Depleted
The Financial Times recently reported that domestically produced natural gas currently provides 80 percent of Bangladesh’s electricity. As a result, gas fields are fast being depleted and government regulations, including a ban on exports, have discouraged further exploration. The remaining electricity supply is generated by expensive diesel and furnace oil plants.
The Government of Bangladesh Secures Financing Deal
In order to improve current conditions, the government of Bangladesh received a $177 million financing agreement from the International Development Association (IDA) at the end of last year.
The funding has been earmarked for the completion of a 355 megawatt combined cycle power plant currently undergoing construction at Siddhirganj, near Dhaka.
The project will help increase clean, reliable and low-cost electricity supply in Bangladesh. When completed, the power plant will account for 6 percent of the total electricity delivered to the national grid, according to the World Bank.
This is not the first time the government received funding toward the country’s electricity needs.
In 2008, the World Bank provided $350 million to construct a 300-megawatt gas turbine power plant in Siddhirganj. In the face of increasing power demand and gas shortages, the government decided to convert the peaking power plant to an energy-efficient 335 megawatt combined cycle power plant. The combined cycle technology will allow the plant to produce higher energy with lower gas consumption. This cleaner technology will show a reduction in carbon emissions.
The new financing will fill the financing gap for constructing the power plant.
“This additional financing will add much-needed new power generation capacity for Bangladesh. This financing will contribute to the World Bank’s current support to the energy sector, raising it to over $1.5 billion,” said Iffath Sharif, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.
In addition to financing the construction of the power plant, the project will also help strengthen the institutional capacity of the three implementing agencies: Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB), and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB).
The plant is predicted to start commercial operation in 2016.
– Kara Buckley