Wednesday, 03 June 2020

The Bangladesh government is planning to carry out a feasibility study on setting up one or more hydropower plants in Burma for bringing electricity from the next-door neighbor where there are number of potential spots for generating hydroelectricity, according to official sources.

The Power Division has asked the Economic Relations Division last week to manage funds for the study from the country’s development partners including the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a highly placed source in the power division.

‘We need a huge amount of money to conduct the feasibility study for setting up hydroelectricity plants in Burma ,’ said the official.

Top officials of the Power Division, Power Development Board (PDB), and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh are likely to visit Burma soon to discuss about installation of the plants, the sources concerned said.

The government of Burma in December and January last invited Bangladesh to invest in hydroelectric plants in that country after the Power Division had planned such an investment during the fag end of the BNP-led alliance government.

Narinjara, reported in January that the Burma energy minister, Brigadier General Lun Thi, during a bilateral meeting in Rangoon early that month had urged the Bangladesh ambassador to Burma, M Khairuzzaman, to set up hydro-electric plants in their country.

Lun Thi told the Bangladesh ambassador that there was a great opportunity for this in the Southeast Asian country, the agency report said.

Following the ambassador’s meeting with the Burma minister, the government authorities concerned asked PDB to give its opinion on the issue, Power Division sources said.

The PDB officials have already given a ‘go-ahead’ as regards the power plant projects as Burma has high potentials of generating hydro-electricity,’ said a source.

Generating hydropower is considerably cheaper than any other means of electricity generation, he added.

He said, as per the Burma government’s rules and regulations, if any such plant was set up there, Bangladesh would have to supply 30 per cent of the total generated power to domestic consumers in Burma and the remaining 70 per cent could be brought into Bangladesh through a cross-border transmission line.

According to Burma Ministry of Electric Power, there are more than 200 potential hydropower sites across the country, with an estimated capacity of generating 38,000MW power. Over 37 per cent of about 1,200MW power generated in Burma is hydropower.

Thailand has already started investing in hydroelectric projects in Burma.

Bangladesh has only one 230MW hydroelectricity plant that uses the water of Kaptai Lake. The country currently suffers from a power shortage to the tune of 1500 to 2000 MW during summer and is looking forward to get the comparatively cheaper hydropower from Nepal, Bhutan, and Burma.