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Dhaka Saturday,  Jun 15, 2024

Intricacies Energy Transition Of BD

Pranto Chatterjee

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is akin to a high-stakes chess game, a strategic move that will shape the future of nations and the well-being of their citizens. In the heart of South Asia lies Bangladesh, a country with a rich history, vibrant culture, and a burgeoning economy. As the world grapples with climate change and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Bangladesh finds itself at a crossroads. How can it smoothly transition from fossil fuels to renewables without compromising its economic growth, social equity, and environmental integrity?

Bangladeshs economy is a tapestry woven with threads of industry, agriculture, and services. The textile sector hums with activity, while shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and information technology contribute to the nations GDP. But beneath this economic vibrancy lies an energy challenge. How can Bangladesh embrace renewables without disrupting industrial production? The answer lies in a balanced approach.

Renewable energy sources, solar panels and wind turbines, offer promise, but they dance to the rhythm of nature. The sun sets, clouds gather, and the wind whispers intermittently. Industries cannot afford to halt production due to weather whims. Therefore, while solar and wind must play a role, they cannot be the sole protagonists. Bangladeshs energy mix should include natural gas, a reliable partner that bridges the gap between intermittent renewables and uninterrupted power supply.

Energy bills should not be a burden on the average citizen. As solar panels adorn rooftops and wind farms dot the landscape, affordability becomes paramount. The governments initiatives to subsidize renewable energy installations are commendable, but they must be complemented by targeted policies that shield vulnerable populations from rising costs. Energy equity ensures that progress benefits all, not just the privileged few.

As we tiptoe towards renewables, we must tread lightly on the environment. Solar panels sprawl across acres, and wind turbines stretch towards the sky. But these green giants have a footprint. They displace ecosystems, disrupt bird migration routes, and alter landscapes. Bangladeshs biodiversity, home to the Royal Bengal tiger, the elusive Gangetic dolphin, and countless avian species deserves protection. Can we find harmony between clean energy and ecological conservation? Perhaps by integrating solar panels into urban architecture and designing wind farms with bird-friendly features.

Lithium-ion batteries, like diligent scribes, record sunlight during the day and release it at night. But they have limitations. Their capacity wanes over time, and their production involves resource-intensive mining. Bangladesh must invest in research to improve battery technology, making it more efficient, durable, and sustainable.

Solar panels stretch across fields, their glassy reflections mirroring the sky. Wind turbines twirl on hills, blades slicing through the air. But land is finite. Bangladesh, with its lush deltas and verdant plains, must choreograph this pas de deux carefully. Rooftop solar, floating solar farms on ponds, and repurposed industrial sites can share the limelight.

As solar panels age, they retire gracefully. But their exit must be planned. Recycling centers should hum with activity, dismantling panels, salvaging materials, and composing a green encore. Turbine blades, too, deserve a second act. Perhaps theyll become playground slides or sculptures, testaments to a renewable era.

The tightrope trembles, but Bangladesh dances on. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the conductor of this symphony, holds the baton. Her legacy will echo through generations. As the curtain falls, let it reveal a Bangladesh where energy flows seamlessly, where innovation blooms, and where the sun and wind waltz with purpose.

In this grand finale, the tightrope transforms into a bridge, a bridge that connects the past to the future, fossil fuels to renewables, and dreams to reality. Bangladeshs energy odyssey continues, and the world watches, a global audience applauding, critiquing, and hoping for an encore.

The writer is a former Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholar, holding a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from NIT Durgapur, India

From The Daily Observer

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