A pioneering work on renewable energy in Bangladesh

HELAL UDDIN AHMED | Friday, 24 September 2021

Although the Government of Bangladesh had planned to source 10 per cent of total electricity generation from renewable energy by 2020, the achievement was only 3 per cent within that deadline. That target has now been reset for 2025, with the country currently poised to reach the milestone of 1000 megawatt power generation from renewable energy by the end of 2021. In this backdrop, the book 'Development of Renewable Energy in Bangladesh' by the current chairman of the public sector agency 'Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority' (SREDA) Mohammad Alauddin is undoubtedly a timely output that sheds light on the current state of renewables in the country. The volume is basically a compilation of 13 articles as well as an interview published in various periodicals and journals from 2014 to 2021. It covers a majority of the numerous typologies of renewable energy as well as their status, problems, challenges and opportunities in Bangladesh.

Broadly speaking, the book's articles dwell on diverse themes like clean energy initiatives; incentivising renewable electricity generation; using water bodies for solar power; floating solar photo-voltaic technology; rooftop solar power; grid integration of solar energy; using water-bodies for solar power generation; incentivising through net metering; turning electricity consumers into producers; unlocking the potentials of offshore wind power; harnessing marine renewable energy; wind-solar home power systems at remote locations; and solar power for energy self-sufficiency in the country's airports. The interview taken by Bloomberg NEF summarises Bangladesh's achievements in producing power from renewable energy as well as the vision and strategies in the area for the upcoming years. It is a slim book of 122 pages, providing valuable information to the readers on the renewable energy scenario of the country, and the technical, financial-cum-managerial challenges being faced in their application-cum-adoption in Bangladesh, a land having unique resource endowments and constraints. The book also contains an exhaustive list of references on renewable energy development in Bangladesh.  

In his short and succinct foreword to the volume, the adviser to the prime minister on power, energy and mineral resources Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury BB wrote: "It is not a story of one-size fits-all - a common global narrative, deficient in recognising the importance of local conditions. Bangladesh, with over 1250 persons per square km - the most densely populated large country in the world has to sync its development needs and energy goals; any land-intensive solution is not an answer here. Moreover, without a viable and affordable storage system, renewable energy cannot be mainstreamed and will remain a burden on the power system, which has to cater to the 24/7 demand of its customers".

A senior civil servant belonging to the 1989 BCS batch, Mohammad Alauddin notes that the book is an assemblage of his articles written over the past eight years while he has been serving in the Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. The illustrated paperback printed on glossy art paper and laden with elaborate and coloured graphics, photographs, tables, charts and references is undoubtedly a precious addition to the debates and discourses surrounding renewable energy in developing countries like Bangladesh. It would certainly prove invaluable to relevant scholars, academics, students, policy makers and inquisitive readers alike - who are interested to have a glimpse of the state of renewable energy applications in Bangladesh. 


Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed is a retired Additional Secretary and former Editor of Bangladesh Quarterly. [email protected]