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Bangladesh: New development plan targets ‘aggressive efforts’ in RE generation

The Bangladeshi government is focusing on the development of solar and wind power as it seeks to boost renewable energy generation in the country. Clean energy proponents say the strategy will lead to lower government subsidies for electricity generation.

A new development strategy, recently unveiled by the Bangladesh government, is targeting “aggressive efforts” and immediately providing required policy support to enhance energy generation from renewables.

“During the eighth five-year plan the renewable energy generation strategy will have to be aggressively pursued so that all that is planned gets implemented in time and where policy support is required should be given forthwith,” it said.

The plan has identified several factors behind the failure in achieving the renewable energy goals, which include 10% clean energy generation by 2021. The impediments include continued subsidisation of fossil fuel use and inadequate incentives to renewable energy.

“Both of them have adversely affected demand and supply of renewable energy,” the government’s plan for 2021-2025 stated.

“There will be renewed effort to improve the focus and implementation of the RE policy during the eighth five-year plan period,” it said.

The eighth plan will continue the seventh plan’s focus on two main areas of renewable energy: solar and wind power. “There is already significant success in the area of solar energy in home lighting,” the government report said. “The rooftop solar PV systems have been successfully introduced in the country.”

Presently some 716.72 MW of electricity is being generated from renewable sources. Additionally, some 543 MW renewable are under construction and another 1,416 MW renewable projects are at the planning stage.

Underscoring the need for “strong efforts” to enhance RE generation, the document noted that Bangladesh was increasing grid-connected renewable generation capacity while network and operation capacity would also need to be improved.

One key strategic focus proposed under the Perspective Plan 2041 will be the encouragement of renewable energy supply by private producers, including supply to the grid as well as direct sales to households.

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The government is also pushing for commercial renewable energy projects to be implemented by the private sector, while different ministries and agencies would implement social projects.

As part of its social responsibility, the government will install solar systems in rural health centres, remote educational institutions, union level e- service centres, remote religious establishments, off-grid railway stations, and government and semi-government offices in off-grid areas.

“This will then be setting the stage for a more visible shift to the active use of renewable energy and a concomitant reduction in the consumption of fossil fuel…,” it said.

Dipal C Barua, president of the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association, told pv magazine that the new plan had given immense importance to renewable energy.

“We appreciate the government’s wise decision to take real efforts for enhancing clean energy generation,” he said.

Barua said the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was going up worldwide, which means that over dependence on LNG for electricity generation will lead to higher subsidy from the public exchequer.

“Setting up renewable energy-based power plants will ultimately help lower the government’s subsidy for electricity generation,” he added.

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Source: pv magazine