Bangladesh Government Eyeing a Target of Generating 10% of its Power from Renewable by 2021

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“Renewable energy would ensure future energy security. The government is cooperating in the expansion of renewable energy. It has developed a power generation strategy based on fuel diversification to enhance energy security.” Mr. Nasrul Hamid, Honorable State Minister
Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

The government has taken various initiatives to enhance generation of renewable energy as part of its efforts to ensure energy security keeping carbon dioxide emissions at low level.

Bangladesh is now generating 630.96 megawatts (MW) of electricity from renewable sources –
3.15 percent of the total generation now which stands at around 20,000MW. The government has set a target to increase renewable energy generation to 2,000MW, 10 percent of the total generation, by 2021 and to 6,000MW by 2041.

Government officials say the price of electricity will come down if the target is achieved.

Experts said Bangladesh is planning to gradually switch to renewable energy as the world is now turning to environment-friendly renewable energy due to the depletion of fossil fuels.

Bangladesh has attained outstanding success in the field of green energy as it secured the second position in producing renewable energy (RE), especially off-grid solar solutions.

According to REN21’s Renewables 2020 Global Status Report (GSR) published recently, Nepal
topped with 11 percent access to electricity from off-grid solar systems, while Bangladesh and Mongolia jointly ranked second with eight percent power from the same sources

According to Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA) so far, around 6
million Solar Home Systems (SHS) have been set up in remote areas across the country with the direct patronization of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which is currently directly and indirectly benefiting about 3 (three) crore disadvantaged rural people. This is the largest and most globally renowned Solar Program.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that renewable energy would ensure future energy security. The government is cooperating in the expansion of
renewable energy. It has developed a power generation strategy based on fuel diversification to
enhance energy security.

He also said that though it is not possible to build a large-scale solar power plant in Bangladesh
due to its agro-based economy, it can be advanced with rooftop solar power plants or floating solar power plants. Besides, the Power Division is also working on wind and waste-based power
plants


“The current government that gave special priority to rural development in the last election manifesto, may take steps to implement the “My Village, My Town” program, where we believe Renewable Energy can play an important role to improve the quality of lives of people without damaging environment.”
Mr. Dipal Chandra Barua

President, Bangladesh Solar & Renewable Energy Association

On June 29, BSREA submitted a proposal to the state minister, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources for renewable energy implementation from 2021 to 2025 to overcome losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

When contacted, Dipal Chandra Barua, President of BSREA told Bangladesh Post, “The government is more sincere about increasing the use of renewable energy in the country. Now we have to spread the use of renewable energy in all fields. We can generate at least 2,000 MW of electricity by 2021 from solar irrigation pumps and rooftop solar panels alone. By doing so, the goal of generating electricity from renewable energy within the next year will be achieved effortlessly.”

“Besides, RE Projects that can be implemented, like floating solar power plants, solar- diesel hybrid mini cold storage, electrification of primary/secondary schools through renewable energy, electrification of rural areas with street lights and so on,” he continued.

Dipal said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a total incentive package of over Tk 100,000 crore including an incentive package of Tk 33,000 crore for export oriented industries to overcome the economic crisis, which is a very timely decision. Some more incentives are needed in the renewable energy sector to increase the use of renewable energy.

In this case, the government can raise its own funds as well as various international funds. Raising international funding for the renewable energy sector is not so difficult a task.

It was said in the proposal there are more than 16 lakh irrigation pumps in Bangladesh out of which 13 lakh pumps (shallow) are operated by diesel. Farmers can be provided small size solar irrigation pumps at subsidized rates. The government will subsidize 60% of the cost of solar irrigation pumps and provide the remaining 40% in the form of low interest and long-term bank loans.

“In addition, the current government that gave special priority to rural development in the last election manifesto, may take steps to implement the “My Village, My Town” program, where we believe Renewable Energy can play an important role to improve the quality of lives of people without damaging environment,” according to the proposal.

The BSREA official said Bangladesh’s net-metering policy can be considered as a new way to solve unsolvable problems. One of the processes that can be considered to help Bangladesh reach the goal of renewable energy is net-metering. If such a plan is implemented properly, it allows the customer to use solar energy directly and save on the cost of electricity by supplying additional solar power to the grid.

“IPP solar projects especially floating solar projects are the ultimate future for Bangladesh’s clean energy transition. Implementing utility scale solar projects, solar irrigation, solar rooftop project will create employment opportunities which will help the economy to recover fast.”
Mr. Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid

Manging Director, Solar EPC Development Ltd

Floating photovoltaic system is a novel idea in renewable energy production without putting additional burden on water and land resources. In Bangladesh, we have total 14,741 million hectors of water bodies including Rives, Beels & Haors, Estuaries and mangrove swamps. In addition we have Millions of Small Ponds & Big Ponds which can be used for Installing Floating photovoltaic system. Bangladesh has a prospect of 5000MW electricity generation by Floating photovoltaic system. Since the acquisition of non-agricultural land required for the implementation of solar power projects on a megawatt scale is a major hurdle, floating solar power projects are an excellent option. Many countries around the world have already taken the necessary policies and initiatives to implement floating solar power projects. Now is the time for us to take initiative, set the necessary policies and set specific goals. Floating solar power projects can be the main means of achieving the target of power generation from renewable energy.

Mr. Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid, Member of BSREA and Managing Director of Solar EPC Development Ltd. said “IPP solar projects especially floating solar projects are the ultimate future for Bangladesh’s clean energy transition. Implementing utility scale solar projects, solar irrigation, solar rooftop project will create employment opportunities which will help the economy to recover fast.”

On June 2, a report by the UN watchdog International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said the electricity generation cost from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind is declining by 13 percent each year. In the last 10 years, the generation cost of solar power has decreased by 82 percent and wind power by 39 percent.

“If renewable energy-based power plants were built instead of the world’s 500,000 megawatts of coal-fired power plants, it would save $23 billion a year and reduce carbon emissions by 180 billion tons. In that case, the world’s total carbon emissions will be reduced by five percent.”

According to the IRENA report, currently the generation cost per unit of solar power plants is on an average 6.8 cent (Tk 5.78). The generation cost of wind power is 5.3 cents (Tk 4.50) on land and 11.5 cents (Tk 9.77) at sea. However, the generation cost of newly solar power plants will be 3.9 cents (Tk 3.31), which is 43 percent less than the cost in 2019.

‘The generation cost per unit from fuels like oil and coal is 6.6 cents (taka 5.61),’ the report says.

However, the cost is higher in Bangladesh due to the import of coal and oil. The average power generation cost per unit is Tk 8.5 to Tk 9.

According to the report, not only generation, but also the construction cost of renewable energybased power plants has come down. In 2010, per unit generation cost of a solar power plant was $4,695, which was only $995 in 2019. The land-based wind power plant construction cost in 2010 was $1,849, which is now at $1473.

Comparing the construction of coal, oil and gas based plants with solar and wind power, the cost of renewable energy power plants is now lower. Apart from that, there is no capacity payment or plant rent in solar power plants. If there is no electricity, there is no payment.

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