Renewable Energy in Bangladesh: What still needs to be done?
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), Bangladesh and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) jointly organized a seminar on ‘Practices and Success Stories of Renewable Energy in Bangladesh’. Key stakeholders in the renewable energy sector including entrepreneurs, academicians and government officials attended the seminar. The main speakers at the conference presented the following organizations: Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) of the Bangladesh Government’s Power Division, Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), German Development Co-operation (GIZ) and Bengal Solar. Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Government of Bangladesh was the chief guest.
The discussions focused on opportunities and challenges of power generation from solar energy and biogas. One of the representatives from Bengal Solar presented that the firm has constructed a 2000 W Solar System for a school in Khagrachari in Bangladesh. The electricity is produced from panels installed on the roof top of the school building and it is used during the night, benefitting 150 students. Another success story was presented by a representative of IDCOL. It’s Solar Home System (SHS) which was started in January 2003, has created 70,000 jobs so far.
A representative from Green Economy Hub stated that biogas from waste can be used to produce various fuels such as gas for household cooking, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles, electricity for battery run rickshaws and fertilizer for soil. The conversion of waste to energy could reduce health hazards caused by the waste materials, currently managed improperly.
Dr. Najmul Hossain, Country Representative, FNF Bangladesh came to a rather firm conclusion: “The solar energy and biogas sectors face many challenges in Bangladesh. The technology used currently to produce both solar energy and biogas is back dated. Lacks of policy and long term financial models have also contributed to the slow growth of these sectors”.