Bangladesh’s economy currently grows at 6%, and the country is working with ambition to reach 8% by 2020. In order to support this growth, reliable power infrastructure is critical. The current infrastructure faces several challenges including the need for increased generation and transmission capability and lack of centralized control.
The Government is committed to improve the situation by investing in new power plants, strengthening transmission through new space saving substations, and adopting digital power management solutions. Enabling a smarter power grid, equipped to handle the growing electricity demand is part of ‘Digital Bangladesh’, the government’s vision for 2021. However, upgrading the power infrastructure given the country’s small geographical size and heavy population calls for innovative and digital technologies.
On 18 October 2017, in Dhaka, the country’s capital city, ABB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Power Ministry and the Swedish Embassy to pilot several strategic projects of this nature. The document was signed by Harikishan Narayanan of ABB, Charlotta Schlyter, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh and Sheikh Faezul Amin, Joint Secretary of the Power Ministry. These projects will be funded through EKN (Swedish export credit agency) backed loans from financial institutions.
As part of the MoU, ABB will run pilot projects with five power utility firms which will introduce them to innovative power solutions to digitalize their grids and make them more reliable and efficient. These firms are Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited, Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited, Bangladesh Rural Electricity Board, and West Zone Power Distribution Companmy Limited.
The solutions to be piloted include ABB’s underground substation concept, which can be installed in densely populated areas and digital substation which reduces the AIS switchyard footprint by ~50%. Grid automation solutions from the ABB Ability-based portfolio will also be deployed including Network Manager Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Distribution Management Systems (DMS) as well as Network Information Systems (NIS). As part of the pilot projects, ABB will also provide training to engineers of the different utility firms on the solutions offered.
ABB’s Managing Director in Bangladesh, Harikishan Narayanan, said “As a first step, these pilots will pave the way to establish a stronger, smarter and reliable grid network in Bangladesh. ABB Ability platform will enable local utilities to manage a grid network that is becoming increasingly complex, especially with the addition of renewables, cross border HVDC interconnections etc and our solutions will optimize their substation footprints, which is very important since land availability is a challenge in Bangladesh”.