Just promoting renewables won’t cut it
We are wondering how the prices of electricity produced in coal-based power plants like Payra and Adani increased despite the government's promises to make them cheaper. The deals should be made clear and open to all.
Promoting renewable energy will not be sufficient enough for sustainable development, rather there should be a policy on discouraging fossil fuel use, said Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at a media briefing yesterday.
The think tank, at a media briefing, yesterday said policies regarding renewable energy and fossil fuel are discriminatory as they unfairly favour the investors of gas or coal-based power plants.
"The Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply Act, 2010 should be repealed immediately. With this act, there is no competitive space for renewable energy. There are grey areas in the bidding process and power purchase agreements," said CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem, while presenting the keynote paper in the briefing, titled "Rethinking Renewable Energy Policy (Draft): A Comprehensive Assessments".
"We are wondering how the prices of electricity produced in coal-based power plants like Payra and Adani increased despite the government's promises to make them cheaper. The deals should be made clear and open to all," said Moazzem.
"The government provides a lot more fiscal incentives for nonrenewable fuels. Unless these supports are removed, it will not be possible to convince investors and consumers to shift to renewables."
He also mentioned that the high subsidies in the power sector are the result of the government's wrong decisions, such as providing "extra benefits" to power plants owners in the name of capacity charges.
"One of the main conditions of the IMF's loan programme is to reduce the subsidy in the power sector. The government is reducing it by only increasing prices."
"If the subsidies are withdrawn from the power sector, then the price of electricity produced in fossil fuel-based power plants will be much higher than those based on renewable sources. Why does such a contrast exist?" asked Moazzem, demanding an open tender process.
"Introduce a process where the fittest companies can get the contracts to generate electricity at lower costs," he urged.
The briefing appreciated the new renewable energy policy draft and termed it a "good initiative". However, CPD also demanded some inclusions.
"Though the revised draft is much more detailed than the original one, the policy has the potential to be more accurate -- the focus should be on renewable energy," said Moazzem.
"Compared to other countries, Bangladesh is far behind in terms of policy-making on renewable energy. A carbon cap should be introduced for all industries and eventually (the country should) shift to a carbon tax. All the exemptions of taxes and duties would be highly appreciated if it becomes reality as per mentioned in the draft," he added.
Moazzem also mentioned that there are hundreds of deviations in the government policies, including the Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan, the SREDA Act, the Mujib Climate Preoperatory Plan, Nationally Determined Contributions etc.
"All these policies should be aligned. Any other energy-related policies in the future should be taken based on the renewable energy policy."