The Asian Development Bank has approved an assistance package totalling more than $357 million for a project to develop two power lines in Bangladesh.
“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,” said ADB Senior Energy Specialist Aiming Zhou.
“In support of this, the ADB project will make the power transmission system more efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly.”
About 35 million people in the country are without access to electricity. Inadequate transmission lines and substation transformer capacities in the southern and western regions are the main contributors to transmission bottlenecks, according to the statement.
At the same time, construction of new transmission lines has become more challenging because of the high population density and limited rights-of-way, ADB said.
The Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion Project builds on ADB’s previous work in the Bangladesh power sector, including the recently approved Rupsha 800-megawatt 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 230 kilovolt transmission line from Barishal to Faridpur and a 104km-long 400 kV transmission line from Bogura to Rohanpur, along with substations, transformers, and associated extensions and connections.
The new transmission lines will introduce to Bangladesh a new type of high temperature conductor to allow more power transfer at lower energy losses. These 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 to minimise right-of-way requirements.
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.
This climate change mitigation accounts for $93 million of the investment, comprising $86 million from the ADB loan and $7 million from the JFJCM grant.
Under the EAKPF grant, the project will fund a scholarship programme that will support women’s access to higher education and boost their job opportunities in the electricity industry.
The government will contribute $174.5 million toward the $532 million total cost of the project, which is due for completion at the end of June 2023.