The largest single Project benefit is its contribution to addressing Bangladesh’s energy and power crisis.
Bangladesh is in the midst of a severe and worsening energy crisis. Less than half of the country’s 162 million people have access to electricity and those that do have access suffer from frequent power cuts. Lack of available power is a barrier to the development of industry and also impedes agricultural production due to restrictions on crop irrigation in the dry season. It is widely accepted that the availability of electricity is a necessary condition for sustainable economic and human development. For countries such as Bangladesh, which have relatively low per capita electricity consumption, small increases in electricity consumption are associated with substantial improvements in education, life expectancy and levels of income. The Government of Bangladesh has prioritised the increase in electricity availability as key to achieving many of its objectives including poverty alleviation and the Millennium Development Goals.
Bangladesh's current generating capacity is largely (89%) fuelled by gas and there are insufficient reserves to support current demand let alone a meaningful increase in capacity. In contrast, Bangladesh has substantial reserves of high quality coal and this provides the fastest, lowest risk and most reliable means of delivering a step change in electricity availability for the people of Bangladesh. At full production, coal mined at Phulbari could support generating capacity of 4,800MW, compared with current peak generation of 4,800MW. The Phulbari Coal Project is the only coal project in Bangladesh that has been subject to rigorous study including a full Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.