ADB approves RM1.5b for new power transmission project in Bangladesh

The bank says a top priority of the govt is to address infrastructure deficiencies which face recurring shortages


Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$357 million (RM1.46 billion) assistance package to develop two power lines to support Bangladesh’s national target of electricity for all by 2021.

It is estimated some 35 million people in the country are without access to electricity.

The investments comprise a US$350 million ADB loan, a US$7 million grant from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism to partially finance new high-technology energy efficient conductors, and a US$500,000 grant from Republic of Korea’s e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund to promote socially inclusive growth with gender equality.

“Bangladesh has been experiencing impressive economic growth over the last decade, but to maintain and even accelerate this, more investments are needed for the power transmission network to meet growing electricity demand,” ADB senior energy specialist Aiming Zhou said in a statement.

Despite its recent economic success, the statement said Bangladesh continues to face major challenges.

It said a top priority of the government is to address infrastructure deficiencies, including modern and affordable energy services, which face recurring shortages and ever-rising demand.

Inadequate transmission lines and substation transformer capacities in the southern and western regions are the main contributors to transmission bottlenecks. At the same time, construction of new transmission lines has become more challenging because of the high population density and limited right-of-way, according to the statement.

The Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion Project builds on ADB’s previous work in the Bangladesh power sector, including the recently approved Rupsha 800MW combined cycle power plant in the southwest region, to address continuing deficiencies in the transmission system through providing more efficient power transfer to the load centres of the southern and western zones.

The project will develop a 126km-long 230kV transmission line from Barisal to Faridpur; and a 104km-long 400kV transmission line from Bogra to Rohanpur, along with substations, transformers and associated extensions and connections.

The new transmission lines will introduce Bangladesh to a new type of high temperature conductor to allow more power transfer at lower energy losses, the statement said.

The lines have less resistance to power flow, higher power transferring capacity and operate more reliably in tropical weather. In addition, the use of these conductors also helps minimise right-of-way requirements.

ADB said the project is also contributing to climate-change mitigation since the new conductors reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional transmission conductors that are used in Bangladesh.