A 130 MWe barge mounted power plant started delivering power to the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in July. The unit was built by the Malaysian based Westmont Power Co as an independent power project.

Westmont has signed a 15 year power purchase agreement with the BPDB to deliver 100 MWe to the Bangladesh national grid. Delivery of power was supposed to have begun in September 1998 but the company failed to complete the project in time.

The Westmont project is the second private sector barge-mounted power plant to enter service in Bangladesh. Khula Power Co Ltd commissioned the first unit in October 1998.

A third barge-mounted plants, being built by the US-based NEPC Consortium Power, has started testing. Commercial operation of this project has been delayed by a fault detected during the test run.

Meanwhile, a 70 MWe barge-mounted plant built by the Rural Power Company Ltd, (RPC) a subsidiary of the Rural Electrification Board, is likely to be commissioned in November at Shambhuganj near Mymensingh. The power unit is ready to start generating power but a gas pipeline to supply it with fuel has yet to be completed.

Construction of the RPC power plant was delayed by floods in 1998. The project, originally costed at $62 million, is finally expected to be completed for $53 million. The company now plans to build a second, land-based 70 MWe plant at Shambhuganj. The second unit is due to enter service in August 2000.