U.S. developer Eleris Energy has initiated talks to set up 2.2 GW of solar power plant capacity in Bangladesh.
The Asia-focused gas-to-power and renewables company has proposed joint ventures with the Bangladesh Power Development Board, its Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd and the Bangladesh Army.
Eleris has identified around 5,500 acres for long-term lease from the Bangladeshi government and for private purchase, along the Chittagong coast.
The army is involved because Eleris is planning 1 GW of solar capacity on the “Swarno Dweep” island in Noakhali district which the armed forces use as a training camp.
The Eleris proposal, which is under consideration by the government according to a Bangladesh Power Development Board official, also involves setting up 600 MW of solar capacity with the power development body and the same scale with its Ashuganj Power Station Company, which runs gas-fired generation facilities in the nation.
The total, 2.2 GW of solar capacity would be supplied through 200 MW solar farms, five of which would be sited on the 360km2 Swarno Dweep, in the estuary of the Meghna river, provided the army supply the land as an equity investment in the project.
Bangladesh Power Development Board officials say the U.S. company is pursuing a memorandum of understanding to that effect and a member of staff told pv magazine: “In the recent months, we have received a good number of proposals from different foreign companies. We are actively considering those.”
Saiful Islam, superintending engineer for Ashuganj Power Station Company, acknowledged receipt of the Eleris proposal and said it is being discussed. “If the proposal is found feasible, we will go forward with it because we want to use the abandoned land for power generation,” he said.
Mohammad Alauddin, of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, said the government's power division receives unsolicited proposals from companies expressing interest in setting up solar power plants. “We will be able [to] give a decision when it [is] placed before [the] technical committee,” he said of the Eleris proposal.
Bangladesh has around 650.54 MW of renewables generation capacity and is aiming to source 10% of electricity from clean power by the new year and hit 40 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2041.
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