By Rubina Obaid
Bangladesh is one of the leading developing countries playing increasingly important role in global energy market, to align with the UN pledge of achieving targets of sustainable development goals for reaching climate neutrality.
Unprecedented development and rapid industrialization utilizing carbon-based energy sources in order to achieve economic advancement have started to reflect the effects of global warming. The equation led to a clear assumption that higher use of hydrocarbons and fossil fuels are contributing greatly to heating up the atmosphere and will eventually lead to climate variability. The threat to our planet gave a steady rise to the production of renewable energy sources. The functional approach gained momentum globally in spite of falling prices of crude oil in the last 3 to 4 years. In order to achieve climate neutrality countries have taken part in actively switching towards safe and environment-friendly renewable energy sources in the form of solar energy, biogas, biofuel, and wind energy.
Bangladesh is one of the countries which has greatly suffered due to global warming and its hazardous impacts but the renewable energy sector has still not got considerable acceleration in the last couple of years. This underlines the need for relevant authorities to take considerable measures to mitigate and respond positively to reach climate neutrality. Bangladesh, Biomass Reforms according to the Sustainable & Renewable Energy Development Agency of Bangladesh (SREDA), currently, renewable energy is contributing 3.10 percent to the country’s national energy power mix.
In order to align with the world’s pledge for achieving the 3rd target of sustainable development goals for reaching climate neutrality, civil society is playing an interactive role to support Bangladesh, whereas the country recently graduated the LDC category and the figure is still too low. World bank disbursed $55 million to help in expanding the use of clean and renewable energy sources in rural areas of Bangladesh recently, specifically where grid electricity cannot be reached. Further financing has been administered that is Second Rural Electrification and Renewable energy development (RERED 2), under this project, 1000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids, and around 4 million improved cooking stoves are expected to be installed. Presently, solar and hydroelectricity are the main renewable energy sources of Bangladesh and Bangladesh in search of Biomass Reforms, have pioneered in installing Solar Home Systems (SHSs) and mainly done on the non-governmental level.
Currently, around 600 MW of electricity is been generated through renewable energy sources and in the next three years, the government of Bangladesh has set an objective to generate 2000 MW of electricity from renewable sources, which will be 10% of the country’s total power production. In the meantime, Bangladesh has surpassed the global list of renewable energy using countries through solar power, by installing over 5 million solar systems so far, under the program of Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCL). Through a public-private partnership, Sustainable Renewable Energy Development Authority is promoting and financing renewable energy initiatives, due to this, nearly 15 million beneficiaries are getting solar power.
For an effective transition towards green energy plants, the government of Bangladesh has signed numerous agreements with private entrepreneurs to finance the recently taken initiative of generating 500 MW of electricity through solar plants. The project requires $ 2.76 billion of funding out of which $2.23 billion is expected to come from development partners while the remaining amount is going to be arranged with the collaboration of government and private partners. The government also approved four solar power plants having a combined capacity of 258 MW, to be installed in different places throughout the country in the next 20 years.
Steps have been taken for efficient utilization of renewable sources and generation of energy through biomass and biogas because of the abundance of plant wastes such as rice husk, crop residue, woods, jute stick and also animal wastes. Bangladesh, Biomass Reforms has a low potential for producing energy through hydropower and wind power due to flatness of the country and lack of reliable wind speed but having great prospects of utilizing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for electricity generation. Being an agricultural country large residues of crops are generated that become an important source of developing biomass in the country.