Barapukuria power station
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Bangladesh and coal|
Barapukuria power station (বড়পুকুরিয়া power station) is a 525-megawatt (MW) mine-mouth coal-fired power plant in Rangpur division, Bangladesh.
The map below shows the location of the plant, in Phulbari and Parbatipur upazilas, Dinajpur district, Rangpur district.
The Barapukuria Coal Power Plant was a 250 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station commissioned in 2006. In 2018, the power station's capacity was expanded by 275 MW. It is owned and operated by the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in Dudhipur, Dinajpur province in Bangladesh.
Unit 3 expansion
Barapukuria's Unit 3 was originally proposed as 250 MW. The expansion of the power station was listed by the BPDB as having been approved by the Cabinet "Purchase Committee" with a nominal commissioning date of March 2016.
In 2012, the Bangladesh Power Development Board reported that no progress had been made on the project despite three extensions of the notice for submission of tender for the plant.
In October 2015, it was reported that construction work on the project had begun. The report listed the plant at 275 MW and stated that it would consume 600,000 tonnes of coal annually, with 75 percent coming from Barapukuria Coal Mining Company. Commissioning was planned for 2018.
On December 3, 2017, it was reported the new unit was undergoing testing and would be completed soon. In April 2018 it was reported that "development work" on the unit would continue through the end of the year. The unit was reported to be operating in July 2018.
Unit 3 financing
In January 2014, Chinese private bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) provided Bangladesh with a loan of US$224 million to increase the capacity of the 250 MW Barapukuria coal-fired thermal power station by 275 MW. The remainder of the estimated cost of the US$330.52 million project was to be funded by the Government of Bangladesh.
In July 2018, the plant's three units were shut down due to coal shortages from the nearby Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL). Allegations have been raised that coal has been sold illegally by the government, since there are no technical reasons for the shortage. The plant resumed producing power in September, with the "disappearance" of 142,000 tons of coal still a mystery.
In April 2021, the average annual coal production during the third contract period (2017-2021) for the Barapukuria coal mine was reportedly 840 thousand metric tons against an actual average annual demand of 1,200 thousand metric tons. In turn, the power station was chronically underperforming ("for most of its time, [the plant] could not generate half its capacity").
Coal shortages continued in 2022 and early 2023, leading to power outages. In June 2022, it was reported that only 275MW unit was working, as the coal production had been suspended since April at Barapukuria coal mine. However the situation seems to have stabilised later in August 2022.  In January 2023 it is reported that at the 274 MW-capacity unit, operational capacity was fluctuating between 24 and 250 MW. The other two units could generate 85 MW of electricity each.
Environmental & public health impacts
In November 2019, Market Forces, 350.org, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BAPA), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and Waterkeepers Bangladesh co-published the report, “Choked by Coal: the Carbon Catastrophe in Bangladesh,” to expose the possible consequences of building 29 coal-fired power stations in Bangladesh. The report identified how if these coal-fired stations are built, Bangladesh’s coal capacity will increase by “63-fold, from 525 MW [megawatts] today to 33,200 MW.” It highlighted that the Barapukuria power station – Bangladesh’s only operational coal plant at the time – was toxic and inefficient, raising concerns about larger coal plants under construction in Bangladesh.
The power station has serious impacts on water and land. For example:
- "Testing found that the coal ash pond had significantly contaminated well water and irrigation water with toxic heavy metals. Lead levels were 35-395 times higher than the WHO drinking water standards while chromium was 8,025-18,675 times higher."
- "Coal ash pond overflows onto cropland, contaminating food production areas."
- Owner: Bangladesh Power Development Board
- Parent company: Bangladesh Power Development Board
- Location: Phulbari and Parbatipur upazilas, Dinajpur district, Rangpur district, Bangladesh
- Coordinates: 25.5537569, 88.9486312 (exact)
- Status: Operating
- Gross capacity: 525 MW (Units 1 & 2: 125 MW, Unit 3: 275 MW)
- Type: Subcritical
- In service: 2006 (Units 1 & 2), 2018 (Unit 3)
- Coal type: Bituminous
- Coal source: Barapukuria coal mine
- Source of financing: Unit 3: US$224 million in debt from ICBC; US$106.52 million in equity from the Government of Bangladesh
Articles and resources
- "Annual Report 2011-12," Bangladesh Power Development Board, 2011-2012
- "Barapukuria Coal Power Plant," Global Energy Observatory website, accessed July 2013
- "Barapukuria (BPDB) Coal Power Plant," Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt, accessed in December 2021
- "Power Generation Project From 2013 to 2017," Bangladesh Power Development Board, January 20, 2013, page 3
- "3rd Time Extension Notice for submission of Tender for Extension of Barapukuria Coal Fired Thermal Power Station by 250 MW + 10% (3rd Unit) Project," Bangladesh Power Development Board, 2012
- "Barapukuria coal power plant adds another unit," Daily Star, October 19, 2015
- "Barapukuria Thermal Power Plant:40 pc works of 3rd unit completed," Business News 24, August 2, 2016
- "Feasibility study deal for expansion of Barapukuria coal mine on Feb 16," Dhaka Tribune, February 14, 2017
- "National grid to get 275MW from Barapukuria power plant’s third unit," Dhaka Tribune, December 3, 2017
- "Barapukuria workers threaten strike from April 21," Daily Star, April 21, 2018
- "Barapukuria power plant shut down after 142,000 tons of coal disappear," Dhaka Tribune, July 22, 2018
- "China offers hard loan of $224 million to Bangladesh to expand Barapukuria power station," China.Aiddata.org
- "Barapukuria thermal power plant resumes production after 53 days," Dhaka Tribune, September 14, 2018
- "How is the Barapukuria coal mine doing?," The Daily Start, April 4, 2021
- "Barapukuria plant: Shortage of coal may halt power generation". https://www.thedailystar.net/. July 7, 2022. External link in
- "Production problems at Barapukuria power plant may start easing in 2 weeks: official". bdnews24.com. August 2022.
- "Power cuts are back in some areas despite fall in demand during winter". https://bdnews24.com/. January 17, 2023. External link in
- "Choked by Coal: the Carbon Catastrophe in Bangladesh," Market Forces, November 6, 2019
- "Power Div rejoinder, (CREA) reply," The Daily Star, November 29, 2021 (related to Matarbari Coal-Fired Plants: Nature sacrificed for power, November 17, 2021)