Renewable Energy in Bangladesh
Globally Renewable Energy (RE) is booming, as innovation brings down costs and starts to deliver on the promise of a clean energy future. According the International Energy Agency (IEA), Renewables were the only energy source for which demand increased in 2020 despite the pandemic, while consumption of all other fuels declined. The share of renewables in global electricity generation jumped to 29% in 2020, up from 27% in 2019.
In Bangladesh, the journey of RE started back in 1957 with the construction of Country’s first Hydroelectric power plant on Karnaphully river at Kaptai, Chittagong. Later in the mid of 90’s initiative of private sector played an instrumental role to introduce solar power system in Bangladesh. In 1995 Grameen Shakti for the very first time conducted field trial of 20 Solar Home system to developed a workable business model, with the support of Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Technology wise Solar PV technologies have always been a solution for country like Bangladesh since average solar irradiation in Bangladesh is quite very good (solar irradiation 3.8 kWh/m2/day to 6.4 kWh/m2/day at an average of 5 kWh/m2/day). Also, almost 70% of Bangladesh’s population lives in the rural areas & therefore the Govt. of Bangladesh, considered decentralized renewable energy technology to be one of the best options for bringing electricity to rural areas, as expanding electricity grid distribution line to rural regions and low-income households was not a cost-effective solution. However, due to higher cost of Solar PV system, financial barrier was one of the major challenges to upscale RE solutions. To minimize this challenge, Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL)- a Govt owned NBFI was formed in in 1997. In year 2003 IDCOL designed and started implementing “Solar Home Systems (SHS)” program with an aim to “fulfil basic electricity requirements of the off-grid rural people of Bangladesh”. As of August-2021, more than 5.8 million units of Solar Home Systems has been installed in Bangladesh, which is the highest in the world. Following the success of SHS program, gradually IDCOL developed financial model for implementing different RE programs like Improved Cook Stove, Biogas Solar Irrigation System, plants Solar Roof-top System, Solar Mini/Micro-grid etc.
To properly harness the potential of RE resources and dissemination of RE technologies in rural, peri-urban and urban areas and to encourage and facilitate both public and private sector investment in renewable energy projects, Bangladesh adopted “Renewable Energy Policy of Bangladesh” in 2008.The Bangladesh Govt. enacted ‘Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority’ (SREDA) Act-2012 with the objectives to promote, develop & co-ordinate RE activities and to ensure energy security &
sustainability. Developed in 2018 Govt. of Bangladesh’s “Delta Plan 2100” renewed target of generating 30% of the total energy from RE sources by 2041. Recently Bangladesh has drafted “National Solar Energy Roadmap for 2021 – 2041” which aims to increase the share of RE in the national energy mix for a sustainable energy future
The Paris accord of Conference of Parties (COP21), held in 2015 aimed at limiting the global average temperature rise to below 2°C compared to the preindustrial era. Bangladesh is also ambitious to achieve lower carbon as well as more resilient development. With this in mind, this Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) was prepared and 2015 which aims to put forth mitigation actions that Bangladesh can take to tackle its emissions and to play its role in global efforts to limit temperature rise. Bangladesh aims to reduce 5% GHG emission from Business as Usual (BAU) levels by 2030 in the power, transport and industry sectors, based on existing resources. The government and concerned authorities are taking necessary measures in the deployment of RE technologies in order to fulfill the target.
In 2018, Bangladesh Govt. prepared “Net Metering” guideline to help the country’s household, commercial or industrial consumers of grid-connected electricity use solar energy for power generation installing solar panels on their own roofs. Net metering is a method of recording both import from the national by consumers and export from solar-panels to grid by them. Under this mechanism, the RE facility owner can consume maximum 70% of electricity produced from solar PV system, the rest electricity will come from the national grid.
In Bangladesh major resources of RE for electricity generation are Solar and Hydro. Along with these, a limited amount of electricity is produced from wind and biogas/biomass. The potential for wind energy is still under study. Though the electricity generated from RE resources accounts for only 3% total electricity generation, the generated clean electricity of benefiting more than 25 million people which represents 13% of the population. Till year 2020, the installed RE solution has reduced 4,000,000 tCO2.
Currently IDCOL’s most focused programs are Biogas Plant, Solar Irrigation System, Solar Roof-top & Improved Cook stove (ICS). Under IDCOL’s program Bangladesh now installing on an average 200+ biogas plants in a month. According to SREDA, As of July’2021 Bangladesh has installed 2,130 nos Solar Irrigation Pumps (SIP), accumulated capacity of 44.3 MWp; 27 Solar Mini-grids (SMG) accumulated capacity of 5.6MWp. Due to reduced Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) Generation, now-a-days large scale RE projects like Solar Park is getting popular. Till July’2021 Bangladesh has installed and commissioned 7 Solar Parks with a total generation capacity of 130 MWp, most of which are Independent Power Producers (IPP) basis. Another 37 Solar Parks are in the process of implementation and in near future these solar parks will be 2,345MWp of electricity generation capacity. The Hydroelectric power plant of Kaptai has a generation capacity of 230MW.
In Bangladesh due to proper policy and infrastructural coordination, it is expected that in the coming years RE flourish remarkably and will significantly contribute of national energy mix. In addition to the sectorial needs, the development of RE sources is also very important to meet the national and international goals and targets. Bangladesh is now committed towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. The Goal 7 relates to energy, where “substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix” is one of the major targets. Therefore, for Bangladesh, one of the most effective ways to simultaneously address environment, economy and energy security concerns would be the widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies closely coupled with smart grid and large-scale storage facilities in the long-run.