Target to generate 4,100MW by 2030
Bangladesh has set an ambitious goal of generating more than 4,100 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 as the county looks to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly.
Solar power will account for half of the energy, at 2,277 MW, followed by hydropower 1,000 MW and wind 597 MW.
The country outlined the plan in its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ahead of COP26, which kicks off in Glasgow today.
In the meeting, around 200 countries will highlight their plans to slash emissions by 2030 as they agreed in the Paris Agreement in 2015 to keep global warming well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to try to aim for 1.5C to avert climate catastrophe.
The NDC of Bangladesh says the target will only be achievable if it receives adequate financing, technology, and capacity-building support to implement the carbon-cutting pledges.
The contribution of Bangladesh to the global greenhouse gas emission is less than 1 per cent. However, it is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries due to rising sea levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
"So, we need financial assistance to take measures to become climate-resilient. We will highlight this in the conference," said Mohammad Hossain, director-general of the power cell under the power division.
For Bangladesh's NDC update, 2012 has been considered as the base year, and the plan aims to further mitigation actions that the country may take to tackle its growing emissions and play its part in global efforts.
The NDC promises a number of mitigation actions that will help limit the country's GHG emissions and move to a low-carbon economy with a view to ensuring that the emission does not overshoot the average per capita carbon footprint of the developing countries.
It covers energy, industrial processes, product use, agriculture, forestry and other land use, and waste sectors.
The power sub-sector includes emissions from electricity generation activities from coal, gas, and furnace oil-based electricity plants as well as electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
The new plans come although the country had failed to achieve the goal to produce 5 per cent of its total electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and 10 per cent by 2020 as per the Renewable Energy Policy 2008.
Currently, Bangladesh's installed power generation capacity is about 24,000 MW, on the back of 146 power plants, captive and off-grid sources. Of the amount, only 776 MW are generated from renewable sources, representing about 3 per cent of the total electricity production.
If Bangladesh can achieve its targets set in the NDC, this will take the share of renewable energy-based power generation capacity to around 10 per cent in 2030, when the country aims to generate 46,000 MW, doubling from the current level.
Renewable energy in Bangladesh has made a stride in recent times, and the total power generation from the segment will increase significantly by 2021, said Mohammad Alauddin, chairman of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority.
"By the end of December, more than 1,000 MW of electricity will be produced from renewable sources. Some big solar-powered plants are now in the implementation phase."
Presently, nine solar power plants are being constructed with a combined generation capacity of 450 MW, and a wind power project that will produce 60 MW.
Besides, agreements are set to be inked to set up 12 solar plants with a total generation capacity of 500 MW and a few other wind and biomass plants with a combined capacity of 130 MW.
"About 2,000 MW of electricity from renewable energy sources is in the pipeline, and for that, the government has finance commitment from the private sector," said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
"For the rest 2,100 MW under the updated NDC, the government can seek international financing during the COP26."
However, according to Moazzem, the main challenge for Bangladesh is overcapacity as the country has to spend a hefty amount to meet the cost of un-utilised electricity.
Overcapacity stands at 48 per cent, said the think-tank in a paper recently.
"The government should focus on transmission and distribution and phasing out coal-based and quick rentals power plants. In doing so, it will be able to create space to use the power generated from renewable energy sources," said Moazzem.