Bangladesh wants to partner with the United States private sector in research and development of uninterrupted and affordable renewable energy sources.
Speaking at an Energy Roundtable organised by the USBangladesh Business Council (USBBC) in Washington, DC on Thursday, prime minister’s power, energy and mineral resources Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury urged US companies to explore the prospects of nuclear power modular reactors in Bangladesh.
He mentioned that Bangladesh has been working closely with its neighbours — India, Nepal, and Bhutan — on regional power distribution, and the US companies may explore opportunities for investment there.
Tawfiq-E-Elahi termed the private sector as the main driving force in the Bangladesh-US relations on energy and power.
This was the first in-person meeting of the Business Council since its formal launching in April this year.
Tawfiq-E-Elahi recognised the important role of the US companies in Bangladesh’s energy and power sectors and welcomed their further contributions in these areas, encouraging them to invest in oil and gas explorations in the country, particularly the offshore ones.
USBBC president Nisha Biswal made the welcome remarks at the roundtable expressing deep commitments of her organisation to advance the two countries’ energy partnership by supporting Bangladesh’s growing energy needs.
She also apprised the adviser on the upcoming ‘Energy Taskforce’ of the USBBC to build a knowledge base for expanding energy cooperation with Bangladesh.
The roundtable was also attended by Bangladesh ambassador to the US M Shahidul Islam, senior management officials from several US companies, including Chevron, Cheniere, Excelerate Energy, ExxonMobil, GE Power, SunEdison, as well as officials from the US Chamber, USBBC, and Bangladesh embassy in Washington, DC.
Earlier, Tawfiq-E-Elahi held a meeting with acting assistant secretary of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources ambassador Virginia E Palmer to discuss the Bangladesh-US energy cooperation.
At the meeting, ambassador Palmer expressed her government’s willingness to work with Bangladesh to deepen its energy cooperation, particularly in renewable energy and nuclear power production.
Mentioning climate change as an important component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s energy policy, Palmer praised Bangladesh’s recent move to cancel 10 coal-powered plants in the country.
Appreciating the US proposals, Tawfiq-E-Elahi put emphasis on exploring the possibility of joint research and development projects by the two countries on renewable energy storage and nuclear power modular reactors to ensure uninterrupted power at affordable cost in a country like Bangladesh.
He mentioned that having a balanced mix of energy sources was critical for Bangladesh and its development as prime minister Sheikh Hasina was committed to providing electricity to all citizens.
Tawfiq-E-Elahi also discussed the potentials of South Asia for regional power distribution with Palmer and welcomed any US projects that would meet the needs of the countries of the region vis-a-vis energy sharing.
Earlier in the day, Tawfiq-E-Elahi attended a session at the Washington, DC-based leading think tank Atlantic Council on Bangladesh’s energy policy and outlook.
During the conversation, he appraised the roundtable on the various initiatives in the energy and power sector, including renewable energy under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh’s leadership role in climate change adaptation and creative mitigation.