Summit Corporation Limited, one of the largest business conglomerates in the country, is planning to build a 40MW-50MW floating solar plant on the lands of the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Limited, now underwater.
In an expression of interest sent to the Power Division, Petrobangla, and Barapukuria Coal Mine Company, on 26 May, Summit proposed four models for implementing the project – through a joint venture with Barapukuria Coal Mine, under a land lease agreement, as a lead member with revenue sharing of the project, or any other arrangement suggested by the power, energy and mineral resources ministry.
It also offered to deliver the project in Dinajpur, around 350km northwest of Dhaka, in the shortest possible time, using the world's most efficient technologies.
Engineer Md Kamruzzaman Khan, managing director at BCMCL, told The Business Standard that, alongside Summit's proposal, they also received four more proposals from Chinese firms.
"These all are very initial proposals and we are interested in taking up a project in the lakes. However, the Energy Division and Power Development Board will decide on the right model or structure of the project," he added.
Sources at BCMCL said there are around 300 acres of land at the Barapukuria that have turned into a big lake after coal extraction in the underground method of mining.
For the last few years, the submerged lands have remained as wetlands which used to be cultivated before being acquired by BCMCL for mining.
Sustainable and Renewable Development Authority (Sreda), a state-owned agency responsible for promoting renewable energy, in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank, conducted a feasibility study last year to determine scope for a floating solar plant on the submerged lands.
The study found that a 50MW floating solar is feasible there, said Sreda officials.
Before submitting their proposal to the ministry, Summit Corporation Limited on its own initiative also visited the submerged BCMCL lands in order to see and understand the site conditions.
Based on the available data, the leading private power generation and energy logistics company proposed implementing the project, either as a lead member, or in participation with the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company.
In the proposal, highlighting its financial strength, Summit said it maintains a AAA credit rating and has total equity of $800 million and debt financing of over $1.4 billion.
At present, Summit owns and operates a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) terminal capable of degasifying 500mmcfd and storing 138,000 cubic metres of LNG at Maheshkhali.
The conglomerate also has a 125,000 ton oil storage terminal and a fleet of 30 vessels for furnace oil logistics.
The company alone has a total power generation capacity of 1,941MW, while the combined production capacity of all private producers is 11,108MW.
As of now, Bangladesh has a capacity to generate 788MW of renewable energy, while the country's total power generation capacity is above 22GW (excluding captive power).
Of total renewable capacity, solar energy accounts for 554.17MW, while a single hydro facility is in second position with 230MW of generation capacity.