The government has unveiled draft guidelines for installation of onshore wind power plants as part of its efforts to enhance clean energy generation in the country.
According to the official guidelines, the project developers will first have to ensure the availability of required suitable sites with land use permission, check the availability of wind resources, technically and commercially feasible grid connectivity, transport logistics and environmental acceptability to setup wind power projects.
The Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), which has published the guidelines recently, said it will collaboratively work with project developers to ensure that the project documents meet international banking requirements for standard project financing.
It said the project developers also have to ensure the availability of wind resources at the project sites based on various parameters measured for the purpose.
The quality of the data captured at a particular site for a quality assessment of the wind resource potential, project viability and sustainability of the project over its designed lifetime, also need to be ensured.
The draft guidelines said a noise study has to be carried out by the project developer and has to comply with the existing noise pollution (Control) rules of Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, the acceptable sound limit in the silent zones is 50 decibels (dB) for daytime and 40 dB for night time while in residential areas, it is55 dB for daytime and 45 dB for night time.
In the mixed areas, the limit is 60 dB for daytime and 50 dB for night time while in commercial areas, it is70 dB for daytime and 60 dB for night time and in the industrial areas, it is 75 dB for daytime and 70 dB for night time.
The guidelines said wind is variable in nature and has low capacity utilisation factor (CUF) compared to conventional power thus energy storage systems will play a vital role in ensuring grid stability.
The SREDA suggested installing energy storage devices which will cover 5.0 per cent of plant capacity to ensure the grid safety.
According to the SREDA, wind power with 5.5 metres per second average velocity is suitable for setting up of a viable wind power project.
With new technologies in place, wind velocity of 3.0 metres per second is enough for rotation of wind turbines. Setting up of projects with such a low wind velocity may not be financially viable..
According to a government's wind map, Kutubdia, Chakaria and Maheshkhali in Cox's Bazar district, Kalapara in Patuakhali district and Sonagazi in Feni district are suitable for setting up of wind projects in Bangladesh.
The official wind map will give an idea about wind speed. Before setting up of a project, one has to conduct a study to get real wind velocity. Private-sector entrepreneurs are showing heightened interest to set up wind power projects.
The Bangladesh Power Development Corporation (BPDB) has recently floated a tender for setting up of two wind power projects having the capacity of 50 megawatts each -- one in Chandpur and another in Cox's Bazar.
Another wind power plant of 55 megawatt capacity got approval from the cabinet committee on government purchase last month. It will be set up at Mongla in Bagerhat district.
At present, only 2.9 megawatt of electricity is generated from three wind power projects of which only one has been connected to the grid line. Implementation of a 2.0 megawatt wind power plant in Sirajganj is underway while two other projects of 70 megawatts are under plan.
Meanwhile, the government approved a proposal to set up a 55-megawatt wind power plant in Bagerhat, a move that may give a much-needed fillip to its efforts to tap the country's unrealised renewable energy potential.
The cabinet committee on purchase gave its consent to the proposal from a Chinese-Bangladeshi consortium to set up the plant on a build-own-operate basis under a contract with the BPDB.
The consortium of Envision Energy (Jiangsu) of China, SQ Trading and Engineering of Bangladesh, and Envision Renewable Energy of Hong Kong will establish the plant. The BPDB will buy electricity from the plant at a tariff of Tk 10.56 per kilowatt-hour unit for 20 years,
Bangladesh is yet to significantly exploit its wind-powerpotential even though studies have found that the country could generate a handsome amount of electricity from the clean source of energy.
Three wind turbines with a combined capacity of 3MW have been in operation for the last few years in Feni and the coastal Kutubdia,
The Installed capacity for renewable energy stands at 650.53 MW with solar energy accounting for 416MW and hydropower 230MW. Bangladesh's southern coastal belt offers potential for generating power through wind.
A study, carried out on behalf of the power division, found that coastal areas of Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram divisions have more than 6 metres per second (m/s) wind speed at 120-metre height, which is sufficient for generating electricity.
For wind speeds of 5.75-7.75 m/s, there are more than 20,000 square kilometres of land with a gross wind potential of more than 30,000MW, the study said.
The BPDB signed a contract in March 2015 to award a 60MW wind power project to US-DK Green Energy (BD), a joint venture of Taylor Engineering Group of the US, PH Consulting Group of Denmark and Multiplex Green Energy of Bangladesh, to set up the plant at Kurushkul in Cox's Bazar.
But the sponsor failed to implement the project in the last five years, according to UNB.
The state-run Rural Power Company is working to set up a 10MW plant in Kalapara of Patuakhali. The plant is scheduled to begin electricity generation on December 31, 2022, according to the Sreda website.
Bangladesh's southern coastal belt offers potential for generating power through wind, according to a recently published study by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, raising hopes of meeting the government's renewable energy goals.
The government has targeted to generate 2,470 megawatts of electricity by 2021 through renewable sources, 1,153MW of which was supposed to have been achieved by this year. In reality, the government is nowhere near hitting that target.
Although this estimate is not realistic when proper filters are applied to screen out undesirable land for wind development, it suggests that Bangladesh's 10 percent renewable target by 2021 is achievable.
Until now, only three wind turbines with 3MW of capacity have been in operation for the last couple of years in Feni and coastal Kutubdia.
The wind turbine in Feni, with the blades' centrepoint 50 metres above the ground, has so far generated 588,334 kilowatt hours of electricity since resuming operations in April 2014 after repairs.
The results of the wind resource assessment will help Bangladesh overcome the significant energy challenges, the report said citing the country's power shortage against the backdrop of increasing demand and dwindling natural gas reserves.