The renewable energy sector needs some policy support, including a cut in import duty on renewable energy equipment, introduction of net metering system and increased coordination among all state agencies, to flourish further, analysts said yesterday.
“Every building in Dhaka city can be a source of energy with net metering,” said Atiur Rahman, chairman of Unnayan Shamannay, a nongovernmental think-tank.
“Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits the owners of solar home systems for electricity they add to the national grid.”
More policy support is needed from the government to get more energy from renewable sources like solar, wind and waste, he said.
He spoke while chairing a national dialogue on “Opportunities and challenges of renewable energy in Bangladesh”.
Unnayan Shamannay organised the dialogue at its office in the capital with support from Oxfam in Bangladesh.
Md Golam Mostofa, who created a solar irrigation pump, recommended reducing import duties on renewable energy equipment and associated parts to give a boost to the sector.
“Collateral free loans for farmers for purchase of solar irrigation pumps may have a huge impact in the sector. At the same time, the government's coordination should increase to avoid overlapping and structural hurdles.”
Other makers of solar-run equipment also lamented a lack of coordination among renewable energy entrepreneurs and government suppliers.
Rahman, also a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said the government should coordinate activities of its agencies to get better results from several ongoing renewable energy projects.
Abdullah Nadvi, senior research fellow of Unnayan Shamannay, said 62 percent of the population now have access to electricity while per capita electricity consumption was amongst the lowest in the world.
According to the sustainable development goals, every person will have access to electricity, at least 10 percent of it coming from renewable sources by 2021.
To meet the target, the energy sector needs around $70 billion in investments to increase the use of solar and non-solar renewable energy, he said while presenting a keynote paper.
Aslam Hossain Saudagar and Faridul Haque Khan, members of the standing committee on the power, energy and mineral resources ministry, and Shamim Haider Patwari, a member of the standing committee on the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry, were also present.