Rafiqul Islam Azad
Dhaka, March 16 – Bangladesh plans to generate 2,000-megawatt electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 to ensure the future energy security of the county.“We have a plan to generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2020,” said Siddique Zobair, Member (Energy Efficiency & Conservation) of Sustainable & Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA).
Currently, about 443 megawatts of electricity is being produced from renewable energy sources like the solar home system, solar irrigation, wind and biogas.
Bangladesh is the only country in the world in introducing highest number 5.2 million solar home systems with about 22.36 millions of beneficiaries, particularly in the remote areas in the country.
Besides, the government Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) helped people in setting up 1,100 solar irrigation system and 11 mini-grids through different organizations in isolated Iceland and char areas.
Siddique Zobair said the benefit of introducing home solar system reduces the dependency of people on others to get electricity and increases their sustainability. Besides, the electricity generator cost will remain unchanged at least for 20 years, he said.
The energy expert the renewable energy would not only help the nation to curb the supply of electricity it rather help control the climate change due to carbon emission.
He suggested for increasing the use of renewable energy and refrain from wasting of energy.
Siddique Zobair claimed that Bangladesh is at the top in introducing the highest number of solar home system in the globe.
He said the state-run SREDA working for expansion and publicity of renewable energy is also working for generating electricity from wind, biomass and other renewable resources.
Sources in the SREDA said the SHS project has had a significant positive impact, reaching roughly 12 percent of the entire Bangladeshi population.
Before introducing the SHS, kerosene lamps were commonly used for domestic lighting in rural Bangladesh. However, these are expensive, provide only poor illumination, and produce emissions that affect health, particularly of the respiratory organs. In that respect,” said the sources.
The project also generated a positive impact on the local manufacturing industry. Initially, batteries were the only component produced in Bangladesh and sold as part of an SHS. However, gradually all components (including solar panels) began to be produced locally. This contributed to the growth of the renewable energy market in Bangladesh as a whole, which employed 114,000 people in 2013 alone.
Md. Abdur Rouf Miah, Director (Sustainable Energy), Power Cell under Power Division, said the government has prepared a policy and taken different steps to promote renewable energy.
He said the government also prepared a draft for Net Metering Guidelines to generate rooftop solar power to attain its target to make electricity available for all by 2021.
A senior official of IDCOL also said that the Government has given topmost priority to the power sector and has prepared short-, medium- and long-term power generation plans using gas, coal, duel fuel, nuclear and renewable energy resources.
Renewable energy will play a vital role in meeting the demand for electricity, especially in the off-grid areas of the country. The Government has set a target to generate 5 percent of the total electricity supply from renewable energy resources by 2015 and 10 percent by 2020, he said.
The official further said the prospect of renewable energy in Bangladesh is bright particularly for solar. But in the immediate future, renewable energy will remain a supplement to the conventional energy production. The renewable energy still will play an important role in reaching consumers outside the national grid or in places where grid connection is delayed. Major sources of renewable energy in Bangladesh are as follows:
Bangladesh, being located between 20030’ and 26045’ north latitude, has an average of 5 kWh/m2 of solar radiation falling over 300 days per annum. Daily sunlight in Bangladesh ranges from 7 to 10 hours. This abundant solar energy has a great potential in various sectors in Bangladesh, and its usage will contribute to reducing the traditional fossil fuel-based power consumption while ensuring a green environment for future generations.
(A senior journalist Rafiqul Islam Azad specializes in environment and development issues.)
Rafiqul Islam Azad