The government is gradually stepping up its efforts to increase power generation from renewable energy sources which so far have a minimal contribution to the national grid.
‘We are hopeful about meeting 10 per cent of our national power demand from renewable energy sources by 2021,’ said power, energy and mineral resources state minister Nasrul Hamid.
Recently, a consortium of foreign companies bid for the MW grid-tied PV array project in Rangunia, Chattogram. The prequalified consortium was named the lowest tariff bidder ($0.0749/kWh) for the project implementation of 88 MWe(dc) and 55 MWe (ac) grid-tied solar power project.
Global water, wastewater and alternative energy solutions provider Metito, Al Jomaih diversified conglomerate with existing investments in Bangladesh in power plants in Bangladesh, and Jinko Power, the affiliate company of Jinko Solar — one of the largest manufacturers of solar PV panels in the world — have joined forces in a consortium to bid for the MW grid-tied PV array project in Rangunia.
‘The government is encouraging private investment in increasing power generation from renewable sources,’ said Nasrul Hamid.
He said that currently only about 600 MW is sourced from renewable sources but that would be increased to 2,000 MW by 2021.
He said that Bangladesh has the world’s highest number of 4.3 million households using solar panels for meeting their power demands.
Nasrul identified land scarcity as a major challenge to increase its dependence on renewable sources for power generation but was optimistic about overcoming the obstacle.
He said that the government recently approved construction of a 20 MW solar power plant in Teknaf.
The Bangladesh Power Development Board officials said that many foreign companies showed their interest in investing in solar power generation.
Energy experts were calling for long for increasing electricity generation from renewable sources for it not only cost less but are environment-friendly.
‘As a country prone to possible adverse affects of climate change, protecting the environment is a priority for us,’ said prime minister’s private industry and investment affairs adviser Salman F Rahman.
‘Moreover, environment-friendly electricity generation is what the future demands. As such, the government currently offers incentives for those seeking to invest in solar power generation,’ he said.
He said that the construction of multiple large-scale solar power plants were underway with at least one being jointly financed by a foreign company.
Bangladesh has a long history of using renewable sources.
The country has a hydroelectric power plant that was primarily established to produce 80 MW in 1957 but was expanded later to contribute 230 MW to the national grid, which contuse to this day.
Currently, Bangladesh has installed capacity of producing 19,000 MW, 70 per cent of which is generated by gas powered power plants.
Four other solar power plants worth 137 MW are also being built in Chattogram.
The government is also planning to begin construction of two 110 MW of solar plants in Rangunia and Rauzan soon. The government has already acquired land for the project and is now fencing the area.
‘We are firmly committed to implementing our pledge by 2021. And, we are on the right track,’ said Salman F Rahman.
‘The role of foreign investment in our energy sector is well known. Our indigenous companies are collaborating with foreign ones,’ he said.
He added that the government was increasing its electricity coverage every year and now about 90 per cent people had no problem in staying connected to power.
The USA, Canada, Germany and neighbouring India aim to meet their complete power demand by renewable energy sources by 2050.