Bangladesh, one of the ‘Next Eleven’ emerging economies of this century, is still facing a two-faced challenge .One of them is to capitalise on the current growth rate and take it a step further and the other one is to ensure sustenance of the growth rate.
A continued growth rate of over 7 percent is one of the most desired goals for next decade. High growth rate of industrialisation is the main parameter of the prosperity of a country’s economy which makes the continuous need of energy exponentially.
Though the performance of Bangladesh in this regard is quite impressing, it has been struggling to meet up the energy supply deficiency and yet has to go long way.
According to the United States Energy Association (USEA), the energy supply deficiency in Bangladesh in 2016 stands at 19 percent.Most of the power supply in Bangladesh is non-renewable energy resource based.
The amount which is spent in importing coal and oil is a major cause of disruption in annual GDP by 2 percent. The reserved natural gas is expected to run out in near future.
Apart from this, the coal are expected to be exhausted themselves with increasing use and a predictable threat for severe environmental crisis over the world.
In spite of the threats of using coal so recklessly, the interest in using coal doesn’t seem to reduce. In fact, it is growing higher and higher with the rapid growth of industrialisation.
Asian demand of coal is dominated by China. Demand in China has increased almost five times in thirty years and accounted for 73% of Asia's consumption and almost half of coal consumption globally. But why this crazyness over coal?
It’s because coal is CHEAP. It is the most economic option for the gigantic industrialisation. Coal serves as the primary energy source for many countries in Asia and they are using this energy source to provide electricity to a rapidly-growing population and to fuel development.
Like many other countries in Asia, Bangladesh is no exception.
So, the only way left to address the problem is to make the optimum and efficient use of renewable energy, which is also globally acknowledged. It can reduce pollution, mitigate the deficiency and bridge the chasm between environmental protection and economic growth.
Bangladesh government has taken initiatives and approved construction of a large-scale solar commencement as part of a push to increase the share of power from renewable sources in this electricity-starved country.
Bangladesh government has vaulted to be a leader in the installation of small-scale solar energy. It has hit the aim to achieve vision 2021 to target of 2,000 MW, or 10 percent of overall capacity, generated from renewable sources.
Bangladesh receives an average daily solar radiation in the range of 4-5 kWh/m². Encouraged by the availability of solar radiation, Power Division has initiated a program to generate 500 MW of solar-based electricity.
To encourage using renewable and clean energy, the Bangladesh government has formulated a law that makes domestic consumers, who seek new electricity connections, bound to install solar panels in case of using more than two kilowatts of electricity.
They also have to make sure that the solar panel could supply 3% of the total electricity consumption.
In case of electricity demad up to two kilowatts solar panel installation is not mandatory.
Apart from solar energy initiatives, several wind resource assessment programs are initiated in the country.
It’s because Bangladesh has so many islands in the Bay of Bengal and a strong south/south-westerly monsoon wind coming from the Indian Ocean and it can be fully utilised to produce electricity.
Besides, biomass, mini-hydro and micro-hydro projects are ongoing in Bangladesh to reduce coal dependency to protect it as well the world from severe climate disaster.
Sooha Tabil, Student, Chemical Eng, Buet.