Renewable Energy: Bangladesh made great strides | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 16, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:17 AM, June 16, 2020

Renewable Energy: Bangladesh made great strides

Reports Paris-based organisation

Bangladesh has made great strides in power generation in the last decade as about 95 percent of its population now have the access to electricity, thanks to the government's attention to renewable energy sources along with the conventional sources, says a global report.

As of 2017, around 8 percent of the country's total power generation capacity came from the off-grid solar, making it one of the top six countries in terms of generating electricity using solar solutions, according to REN21's Renewables 2020 Global Status Report (GSR) which was released yesterday.

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The Paris-based organisation said the electricity access in Bangladesh has reached 95 percent in 2019, up from only 47 percent in 2010.

"The availability of off-grid solar and mini-grid technologies, coupled with new business models that make productive uses of energy affordable, have accelerated the demand for such applications in Bangladesh in recent years," the report lauds.

It said, "For example, some 1,500 solar pumps were deployed between 2013 and 2019 under the IDCOL Solar Irrigation Program."

The report, however, expressed concern as the country still lacks widespread access to clean cooking facilities, and in 2018, the number of people relying on the traditional use of biomass, coal or kerosene to meet household needs was 81 percent.

The concerns about imports of sub-standard solar products that are threatening the sustainability of the domestic market, however, have led the national government to introduce minimum quality standards for solar modules, inverters, charge controllers and batteries in 2019, warned the report.

Siddique Jubair, former additional secretary and member of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), give mixed reaction over the report.

"Two years ago the solar market was different but now as the market is competitive and customers knowledge on solar has improved a lot, the situation has changed. Now the products have more quality," he said.

Siddique, also an energy expert, also said it is true that there is still a large number of people who use biomass in cooking.

And it is very difficult to attract these people into clean cooking solutions from biomass as the latter requires no cost.

"We are lagging in this sector. The government should give more focus on the issue to create a sustainable environment," he added.

The report said growth in renewable power has been impressive over the past five years but global hunger for energy keeps increasing and eats up the progress.

It said despite significant progress in renewable power generation, the share of renewables in total energy demand has barely increased (9.6% in 2013 to 11% in 2018).

While some countries are phasing out coal, others are continuing to invest in new coal-fired power plants.

In addition, funding from private banks for fossil fuel projects has increased each year since the signing of the Paris Agreement, totalling USD 2.7 trillion over the last three years.



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