Four grid-tied solar power projects with 302MW combined capacity failed to make any progress in 10 to 22 months after signing of contracts with four local and foreign private companies.
The state-run Power Development Board signed 20-year unsolicited deals to buy electricity at a high price, $0.17 per unit or kilowatt-hour equivalent to Tk 13.60 per unit, with the four companies between February 15, 2016 and February 9, 2017, said power division officials.
One project already missed its date of commissioning of a 32MW solar park while the rest three also made no progress with only two to seven months at hand for commissioning of the respective solar parks, they said.
‘We are trying to help them [the private companies] identify problems in building the solar parks,’ power division secretary Ahmad Kaikaus told New Age.
A move of the power division was underway to visit the project sites and examine the project document, he said, adding that one or two projects had already been visited.
The power division secretary apprehends that ‘land crisis’ may be the key constraint in implementing the projects.
In November 2017, the parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry recommended scrapping the deals with the private companies which failed to make any progress in implementing their solar park projects.
The power division also served Event of Default Notice on Haor Bangla-Korea Green Energy Ltd for its 32MW solar park and HETAT-DITROLIC-IFDC Solar Ltd for its 50MW solar park as they failed to achieve time-bound targets in implementing their projects, said the officials.
On October 19, 2016, the power board signed the deal with Haor Bangla-Korea Green Energy Ltd for power purchase from a 32MW solar park to be built at Dharmpasa, Sunamganj by September 15, 2017.
On February 15, 2016, the power board signed the deal with HETAT-DITROLIC-IFDC Solar Ltd (HDFC SinPower Ltd) for power purchase from a 50MW solar park to be built at Sutiakhali, Mymensingh by April 18, 2018.
On January 9, 2017, the power board signed the deal with SunEdison Energy Holding (Singapore) Pvt Ltd for power purchase from a 200MW solar park to be built at Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar by September 8, 2018.
On February 9, 2017, the power board signed the deal with local firm Joules Power Limited for power purchase from a 20MW solar park to be built at in Cox’s Bazar by February 12, 2018.
The power board also signed two 20-year deals of which one was with joint-venture of Intraco Solar Power Limited of Bangladesh and Jui New Energy Co Ltd on August 27, 2017 for purchasing electricity at $0.16 per unit or Tk 12.8 per unit from its solar park.
The other contract was signed on October 26, 2017 with another joint-venture, Teesta Solar Limited, for purchasing electricity at $0.15 per unit or Tk 12 per unit from its solar park.
Intraco-Juli is scheduled for August, 2018 to supply electricity from its 30MW solar park to be built at Gangachara upazila, Rangpur while Teesta Solar Limited is scheduled for April, 2019 to supply electricity from its 200MW solar park to be built at Sundarganj upazila, Gaibandha.
Teesta Solar Limited is an 80-20 joint-venture of Beximco Power Company Limited of Bangladesh and TBEA XinJiang SunOasis Co Ltd of China.
The government awarded all the contracts to the consortium under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provisions) Act 2010 that indemnified officials concerned against prosecution for awarding contracts without tender, said officials.
The government drew severe criticism for signing the power purchase deals with the companies at up to $0.17 per unit while many other countries including India signed similar deals at prices ranging between $0.024 and $0.10 in 2016.
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