Although the country's target to generate 10 per cent of electricity from clean and renewable sources by 2020 was not achieved, a fresh target for 25 per cent renewable energy is going to be proposed for 2030.
According to official sources, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) will propose the new target, to be incorporated in the proposed Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP).
"We're going to propose a new target to generate 10,000 MW electricity from renewable sources by 2030, when total power generation will be 40,000 MW," SREDA Chairman Mohammad Aladdin told UNB recently.
Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) recently started a process to formulate the IEPMP with the technical and financial support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Tokyo-based Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), has been assigned to adopt the plan for both power and energy sectors. Previously, separate master plans were made for each sector. But for the first time, an integrated plan is being designed for the two sectors.
Alauddin, also an additional secretary of the Power Division under the MPEMR, informed that SREDA had an introductory session with the JICA team in a consultative discussion.
"But now we're working out on the issue to give a concrete proposal on renewable energy's stake in the proposed IEPMP," he told UNB.
As per the SREDA proposal, wind power will play a major role in future renewable energy generation in the country and half of the target will be met by this source of green energy.
"Exploiting the new and efficient technology, we're now planning to set up a good number of wind power plants by 2030," he said, adding a recent study found wind speed at 6 metres per second at higher hub height. Currently wind is contributing less than 3 MW though, according to SREDA's own numbers.
For the other half of that 10,000 MW, the SREDA chairman listed 1,000 MW power from rooftop solar, 1000 MW from floating solar, 1000 MW from solar park and 2,400 MW from nuclear power are expected by 2030, he added.
The SREDA chairman said although the target may sound ambitious, it is achievable as there are a good number of renewable energy projects now in progress.
Energy experts however are sceptical about wind power's potential and commercial viability in Bangladesh.
Eminent energy expert Professor of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Engineering at BUET Dr M Tamim said the proposal of generating 5,000 MW power from wind is "not only highly ambitious, but highly subjective as well."
"Which technology will be used, where it will be used and what will be the cost of electricity and who will be the investors in such projects....these are big questions," he told UNB.
He said when in the last 10 years there was no wind power plant set up in the country, how could we expect that in the next 10 years we will have 5,000 MW from wind?
Dr Tamim, however, said generating 3000 MW from other options-like rooftop solar, floating solar and solar park-is possible.
He also pointed out the SREDA chairman's erroneous inclusion of nuclear power under renewable energy. "Nuclear is not a renewable energy, rather it is perfect to be identified as green and clean energy."
He said Bangladesh's better option would be "distributed solar projects" under which small scale -like 30-50 MW rooftops and solar parks -are built. The scarcity of land is the biggest impediment in implementing solar projects.
SREDA Chairman Aladuddin mentioned that a contract was also recently awarded to a Chinese company to set up a 50 MW wind plant in Bagerhat.
There is huge potential for more wind power plants as newer and more efficient technologies are coming in, he said.
SREDA website statistics shows the country currently generates a total 777.24 MW of electricity from different renewable sources.
Of this, 543.25 MW from solar, 2.9 MW from wind, 230 MW from hydro, 0.69 MW from biogas, and 0.4 MW from biomass.
Alauddin, however, said the country has made a commitment as president of Climate Vulnerable Forum to generate up to 40 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
If we look at the commitment, the target is conservative and very much realistic in our techno-socio-economic perspective, he claimed.
He admitted, it will be a big challenge to achieve the goal of 25 per cent when currently the country generates 3.23 per cent of electricity from renewable sources against a total generation capacity of 24,000 MW.
Earlier, there was a target to generate 5.0 per cent electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and 10 per cent by 2020.