Power, energy and mineral resources ministry rejected a petition of SunEdison, a global renewable energy company headquartered in the United States, for extension of its 200 MW solar park project execution tenure by one year.
Official sources said the decision of the ministry to reject the SunEdison appeal came from a review meeting on the solar and renewable energy projects on November 1.
The meeting found the US firm’s excuse for time extension appeal baseless.
The company was also asked to make the financial closing as per schedule and complete the project execution as per schedule of July 2018. If it fails, the implementation agency will take necessary action as per contract signed with the government, officials at power ministry said.
Southern Solar Power Ltd, a special purpose company of SunEdison, signed a contract with the government on January 9 this year to set up the 200 MW grid-connected solar park in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar in next 18 months, on a build-own-operate basis.
The firm had written the ministry that its project execution is being hampered by the influx of Rohingyas who sheltered in Bangladesh after being forcibly displaced by Myanmar authorities.
It mentioned that many Rohigyas took shelter in its project site and adjacent areas which creates problem in project execution.
But a joint secretary of the ministry visited the project in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar and found no Rohigya in and around the project site. Rather, he learnt that the SunEision actually failed to purchase required land for its project execution, which put the company in trouble.
Contacted joint secretary M Alauddin admitted about the matter and said the performance of the company is very disappointing.
SunEdison, a company declared as bankrupt by a US court, had won the largest solar power project in Bangladesh, after its more than two years of persuasion at the top level of the government.
Officials said it won the $300 million project on an unsolicited basis without participating in any tender process. But from the beginning, the company had been experiencing trouble in purchasing required land for the
project because of its cash crunch.
The project needs 1000 acres of land in Teknaf area where value of land is very high because of the area’s tourism nature.
Finally, it managed to tie up with two local companies – Midland Group and Youth Group — to implement the project and signed deal with the government.
As per the deal, the state-owned PDB will buy electricity from the project at 17 US cents or Tk 13.26 per kilowatt hour (each unit) for 20 years.
The government will have to spend about $1.1 billion, or Tk 8,595 crore to pay the company.
SunEdison will invest about $300 million to implement the Teknaf project on a 75:25 debt-equity basis.
The move for allowing IPP solar plants has been part of the government’s plan to generate 24,000MW of electricity by 2021, the sources added.
Special emphasis was laid on power production from non-conventional sources. It aims to increase the total solar power production by 5 per cent by 2015 (meaning 800MW), and 10 per cent by 2020 (2,000MW). The total solar power production in Bangladesh has not crossed 200MW yet.
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