Renewable energy to sustain Bangladesh’s growing demand

Hamid Ansari
19 June 2019  

Renewable energy. Photo Courtesy: Collected

Renewable energy. Photo Courtesy: Collected

Ever since the December 2018’s general election, Awami League led government’s, efforts towards strengthening international relations have amped up and it looks like one of the possible outcomes could be an increased foreign direct investment of the United States in Bangladesh. Recently, Salman F Rahman, the private sector industry and investment advisor to PM Sheikh Hasina, met Ian Steff, the US Assistant Secretary of Commerce, where the latter expressed interest on the energy resources development in Bangladesh. The US official not only appreciated the progress pace of Bangladesh, but further outlined the interest of multiple USA based companies towards expanding operations and exploring new investment avenues in the country. Salman F Rahman welcomed the move.  
 
The increased interest of the US can be attributed to the new projects and investments towards creating alternative sources for electricity by the Sheikh Hasina government. Realizing the extensive dependency of industries on electricity, a possible solution from the government may involve a counterbalance effect with enhanced solar energy quotient.

Considering the pace of the country’s growth and vision 2041, the work already has had some traction in the country where, more than four million solar home systems (SHS) have been installed in rural Bangladesh by Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) to enhance the quotient of solar energy for the nation. The move is expected to impact the regions with the prolonged issue of electricity access, as well as be instrumental in elevating the lifestyle of people, thereby bringing them at par with urban areas. Commenting on the solar projects, Salman F Rahman, who is also an elected parliamentarian from Dohar – Nawabganj ( Dhaka 1 )  said, “It’s time to think about ‘my village, my city’. This is our Prime Minister’s mission and vision. And such arrangements for working in this sector will give us important guidance.”

Furthermore, the government has successfully managed to reach out to international financial institutions for adequate national development pace. This comes after the recent investment worth $185 million from the World Bank to add up to 310 MW in renewable energy generation capacity. While this is expected to accelerate the infrastructure improvement initiatives and new projects in Bangladesh, the investment would prove to be a crucial step in the journey towards 100% electrification.

That said, the new Bangladeshi government is certainly steering the ship of national development with an all-inclusive approach. Provided that Sheikh Hasina and her advisors including Salman F Rahman maintain the progress pace towards solar energy, the renewable alternative could lay the premise for a ‘bright’  future for Bangladesh.

Hamid Ansari is a business blogger.