Industry Details

Govt plans to implement 10 mega projects by 2030
 Tribune Desk
 Published at 11:54 pm September 2nd, 2018
File photo of the ongoing construction work of the coal-fired power plant beside Pashur River at Rampal upazila in Bagerhat Dhaka Tribune

The government’s main focus is on raising the electricity production to 24,000MW by 2021
As part of its Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016, the government is going to implement 10 mega projects of a capacity of about 15,000MW by 2030.
Director General of Power Cell, Mohammad Hossain said: “The government has already initiated a move to implement the plan as per its vision to raise electricity production to 40,000MW by 2030 and 60,000MW by 2041.”
“However, the government's main focus in the existing plan is on raising the electricity production to 24,000MW by 2021 when the country will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee of independence,” said the Power Cell chief.
Power Cell, a technical wing of the Power Division, has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the PSMP, reports UNB.

Of the 15,000MW of power, officials said, nine projects of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry will provide 11,000MW while 4,000MW will come from the nuclear power plant under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
They said implementation of three of nine mega projects under the ministry have already started. 
On the other hand, the first phase of 2,400MW of the 4,000MW nuclear power has been initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
According the officials, the other seven mega projects are now at different stages of implementation, but due to non-settlement of funds and other technical issues the physical work has been halted.
The balance 1600MW nuclear power has been targeted to be implemented by 2030 by the Ministry of Science and Technology.


Can Bangladesh meet its 10% renewable energy target by 2020?

 Md. Saidun Nabi
 Published at 12:21 am January 12th, 2019
Renewable energy

The country faltered in attaining its previous target but has since gained momentum When it comes to generating green energy, Bangladesh’s past performance has seen a mix of success and failure. The government did not attain its goal of generating five percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015; but that did not deter it from continuing to aim high. The government is now eyeing a target of generating 10% of its power from renewable resources by 2020. Bangladesh is currently generating around 560 MW of electricity from renewables, which is just 2.95% of total power generation. Experts reckon generating 2000 MW of power—10% of the total— within two years, will be challenging. However, many efforts have already been made to attain the goal. 

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) Member Siddiq Zubair told the Dhaka Tribune that in the past week, Sreda initiated a number of solar power projects with a combined generation-capacity of 557 MW of electricity. “We expect these projects will go into operation in two years,” he said. According to Sreda’s website, at least eight solar parks—with a 100MW-capacity each—and a 200MW- capacity solar power project, are in the planning process; while two 200MW-capacity solar parks are now under construction.

The country’s current power-generation capacity stands at 20,430MW, while average production hovers between 6,500MW to 11,500MW, a Power Cell estimate shows. According to the Renewable Energy Policy 2008, the government was supposed to achieve 5% power generation from renewable sources by 2015, and the figure was supposed to double by 2020.

Given the current average rate of power generation, renewable sources have to contribute at least 2,000MW of electricity in the next two years, even if overall production remains unchanged. The government also plans to generate 2,896MW electricity from the same sources by 2021, but slow growth in this sector is nowhere near the projected target.

With the government launching the country’s largest solar power plant, with a 20MW capacity—in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar on October 31 last year—the share of renewable energy in power generation has yet to reach 3%. Presently, a total of 559.80MW of power is generated from renewable energy, of which a whopping 325.82MW, or 52.8%, comes from solar power.

With a 41.1% stake, hydropower is the second-highest contributor to the renewable energy sector; followed by wind power at 0.5%, and biomass and biogas adding 1% each.

‘A tall order’
According to Sreda, renewable energy makes up merely 2.95% of the entire energy sector in Bangladesh; which includes the off-grid share (286.72MW) of renewable energy.  Claiming the target of generating 10% of power from renewable sources is a tall order, Sreda Member Siddiq Zubair said that Sreda remains optimistic that this target can be reached. “Considering the large  solar power projects under construction and the expansion of net-metering, we hope to get closer to the goal by 2020, if not pass the production limit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sreda Assistant Director (solar) Md Rashedul Alam said: “The results of our activities are already evident, and we are advancing towards achieving the government target by 2020.Ever since our journey in 2014, we have been working hard to reach our goal and the outcome is on an upward trend.”

Giving credit largely to solar power plants for contributing most to the renewable energy sector, Rashedul, however, pointed out that the availability of suitable land is an issue for undertaking solar power projects; since the government stands against the acquisition of arable land.

The government is also presently focusing on net-metering to boost solar power generation and popularize it among the masses, he said, hoping the renewable energy’s stake will leap to 1,000MW in the next two years. Responding to a query, Md Abul Kalam Azad, principal co-ordinator of Sustainable Development Goals Affairs under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), told the Dhaka Tribune that they were optimistic about fulfilling the target by the 2020 deadline.

Energy expert BD Rahmatullah said the government, ever since announcing its Power System Master Plan 2016, has reiterated that it will generate 10% of power from renewable sources; but growth in this regard does not reflect that percentage. “Other than solar power projects, the government must focus on generating electricity from wind power and biomass,” he said. Rahmatullah, also the former director general of Power Cell—which works under the Power Division—referring to a recent study, said Bangladesh currently has the potential to produce at least 21,000MW of electricity from wind.

Present state of power production
Bangladesh has been ranked the lowest hydropower-producing country in Asia, a position  unchanged since 2017, according to the 2018 Hydropower Status Report prepared by the International Hydropower Association. The country currently produces 230MW of its electricity from hydroelectric power plants. The country’s combined capacity for power generation crossed the 20,000MW mark in September last year and it has a target of generating 24,000MW of electricity by 2021, 40,000MW by 2030, and 60,000MW by 2041. 

China No. 1 Foreign Investor in Bangladesh, New Official Figures Show
Kamran Reza Chowdhury 
Updated at7:20 a.m. ET on 2019-05-17
China’s footprint in Bangladesh’s economy has expanded massively since 2016 and Beijing is now the South Asian nation’s biggest foreign investor, official figures show, with most of the Chinese money invested in a power sector tainted by allegations of bureaucratic corruption.
Beijing outpaced the United States as Bangladesh’s top investor in 2018, during which Dhaka recorded U.S. $3.6 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI), according to newly released official figures obtained by BenarNews.“The Chinese are now the largest foreign direct investors in Bangladesh,” Shams al-Mujahid, a director-general at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), told BenarNews. BIDA is an agency under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s office. China’s overall investment of U.S. $1.03 billion in 2018 represented a 16-fold increase compared with its 2016 investment of just over $61 million.

“The Chinese have been the largest investor almost everywhere in the world,” al-Mujahid said. “Bangladesh is no exception.” According to the BIDA figures, the Netherlands last year ranked as Bangladesh’s second-largest foreign investor behind China, with $692 million, while Britain took the third spot with $371 million. Britain was Bangladesh’s biggest foreign investor in 2017, with $313 million. In 2018, the United States, traditionally one of Bangladesh’s biggest investors, ranked fourth with $174 million in direct investments, according to the figures. FDI has been a major source of foreign capital for Bangladesh since 1980, when the country adopted its Foreign Private Investment Act.

In 1995, Bangladesh opened up foreign investments in the mobile telecommunications sector mainly because of the absence of ground-telephone infrastructure in the country. It attracted investments from telecoms giants such as Norway’s Telenor and Egypt’s Orascom. But Bangladesh also struggled with power outages, with the nation experiencing its worst electricity crisis in 2008 and 2009. Reports said one blackout alone, in 2014, affected as many as 100 million people – more than 60 percent of the population.

As persistent energy crises plagued Bangladesh, Chinese leader Xi Jinping unveiled the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) plan in 2013, saying that the massive infrastructure initiative would accelerate development in many of the world’s poorest countries by building trade routes that would bring economic benefits. OBOR, which critics say is a tool for Beijing to amass geopolitical power, is an ambitious project reaching from China to many points across the globe through investments that could rise above U.S. $1 trillion.

Heavily invested in power sector
As part of OBOR, Chinese banks have earmarked $23 billion to build coal-fired power plants in 23 countries, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a U.S.-based think tank. Bangladesh is expected to be the biggest recipient with $7 billion, it said. In 2018, China invested more than $800 million in the South Asian nation’s power sector alone. Last year, China Huadian Hongkong Company Limited signed a deal with a local partner to build a 1,320-megawatt plant at Moheshkhali island in Bangladesh. China’s involvement in Bangladesh’s energy supply has spurred criticisms among Bangladeshi economists and experts who have underscored that the South Asian nation’s power sector is “poorly governed.” “There is criticism regarding the business climate in Bangladesh. There is corruption, bureaucratic and legal hassles. But the Chinese businessmen have invested huge in the power sector,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, an economist and former government adviser. “They want to get maximum benefits from the power sector, which practically has no governance and no accountability,” Rahman told BenarNews.
Khaleda Mahmood, chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB), brushed aside Rahman’s allegations. “It is not true that the power sector has no governance,” he told BenarNews, underscoring that his public-sector organization was providing 45 percent of the country’s total electricity demand.

Last year, Transparency International (TI) gave Bangladesh a score of 26 in its Corruptions Perceptions Index. China received a score of 39. The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories based on their perceived levels of public-sector corruption, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean, according to TI, a Berlin-based nonprofit that fights global corruption.

‘No accountability’
Allegations of corruptions had been raised in Bangladesh’s energy sector during the past few years, but those claims were revived less than a week after officials said that three Chinese companies had started lobbying Bangladesh for a contract to build the nation’s second nuclear power plant.

Mahbubul Hoq, chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, told BenarNews that officials of three Chinese companies met with him during the past few months and expressed interest in building the second nuclear plant. It is expected to cost 1.5 trillion taka (U.S. $18 billion). In 2010, the Bangladeshi parliament led by the ruling Awami League passed a law that authorized the Power Development Board to procure electricity from the private sectors, bypassing the lengthy bureaucratic process. The law shielded its officials from prosecution on matters related to procurement of electricity, according to its critics.

The law was initially passed to exist for two years, bringing temporary relief to the public, said Shahiduzzaman Sarker, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on energy and mineral resources. But it has been extended every two years, he said. “The PDB enjoys immunity for its actions," said Rahman, the economist. "So, there is no accountability in the sector."

Country to raise power and energy budget of Tk 30,000 cr for FY 2020

Posted By: daily industryon: June 12, 2019 In: BangladeshPower, Energy and DevelopmentNo Comments

Electricity coverage increased to 93 pc from 47 pc in 10 years

Zahid Hossain Biplob: The government’s allocation for the power and energy sector has been rising during last one decade, but the country is still struggling to meet the spiraling demand for energy. The government has proposed allocating around Tk 30,000 crore for the power and energy sector in the upcoming fiscal year, Tk 2,180 crore higher than the allotment given in the outgoing fiscal year 2018-19. Besides, the allocation for the energy and mineral resources division (EMRD) can get Tk 3648.31 crore. In the last 10 years, the number of power plants rose by 4 times to 118, power generation capacity increased by three times to 18,353 megawatt and even the maximum power generation tripled to a record of 10,958MW.

Allocation for power and energy is likely to increase by more than 19% in the upcoming budget, thanks to the momentum of most of the mega projects in power and energy sector under annual development programme (ADP). The new allocation amounts to around 6 percent of the proposed national budget that Finance Minister A H M Mostofa Kamal is expected to be placed before parliament on Thursday. The total budget for 2018-19 fiscal year was Tk 464,573 crore. The allocation for the sector was 0.08 percent higher than that in 2017-18 fiscal year.

The allocation in the 2017-18 fiscal year was Tk 21,118 crore, amounting to around 5.28% of the total budget. “Most of the mega power projects like Rampal, Matarbari, Payra are implementing as per the schedule….So our allocation for these projects will be increased significantly in next fiscal year,” said an official of the ministry.

Besides, the transmission and distribution lines will also get additional fund as the government has a plan to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all by next fiscal year, said the official. He added that the government will also allocate bulk fund for the Dhaka-Chattogram pipeline project, Indo-Bangla pipeline project and Single Point Mooring with double line project. The government plans to provide Tk 8,500 crore subsidies on LNG price which is main reason behind the rise in the government’s subsidy burden next fiscal year, official sources said. The percentage of population under electricity coverage has also increased to 93 percent from 47 percent during last 10 years. The consumers at industries and households especially in villages complain of outages, particularly during the peak hours. The amount of gas production hits 2,750 million cubic feet this year, which is much higher than that of 1,744 million cubic feet of 2009. Besides, another 650mmcfd was also injected into national grid from imported LNG.

It has raised gas supply to industries and fertilizer factories. But the households’ consumers are suffering due to gas crisis in different part still now. In order to encourage LNG (Liquid Natural Gas), it will give duty tax exemption. BAPEX plans to dig 108 wells by 2021 and with the completion of digging and commencement of gas production from them as planned, the gas supply situation will improve, said BAPEX sources. In the outgoing budget the then finance minister proposed extending the existing VAT exemption facility up to June 30, 2019 for the local LPG cylinder manufacturers. He also proposed zero rates on import of photovoltaic cells and proposed to increase the duty rate on the importation of complete solar module/panel from 5 percent to 10 percent. The government also permitted 50 industries to set up LPG bottling plants in the country. The machinery and equipment required to set up these industries was given duty exemption facility above 1 percent. Besides, the raw materials required to produce LPG cylinders had given special tax expenditure-reducing the duty from 10 percent to 5 percent. Energy expert Prof Tamim while contacted told Daily Industry that the mega projects in the power sector got momentum in the current term of the government, but the projects need a long time to be implemented. Bangladesh has raised the power generation capacity but found little success in utilizing it, said Prof M Shamsul Alam, energy adviser of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh. The country’s gross domestic product has been increasing at around 7 percent but the annual demand for electricity is growing by 10 percent, he said.

He said there is doubt about the expenditure capacity and the quality of work in the power sector. The country found zero progress in exploring the coal resources and the vast untapped petroleum resources in the deep water of the Bay of Bengal, said Saleque Sufi, former director for operations at state-owned Gas Transmission Company Ltd, who is now an international energy consultant.

Creating Smart Cities

Bangladesh is on the path to be a middle-income country by 2021 which is well articulated in the government's development plans for the next few years. Urbanisation has a huge potential to contribute to this vision, as it is projected that more than half of the country's population will live in cities by 2050. While this is a huge opportunity, this could also be a potential challenge in terms of access to basic services, environmental degradation and pitiable living conditions. But it seems like Bangladesh is ready to grab the opportunity, a glimpse of which was visible at the Smart City Week organised by UNDP and the Access to Information (a2i) at the Prime Minister's Office, along with other urban stakeholders, from November 29 to December 5, 2017.

As an urban reform enthusiast from India, who had the opportunity to participate in this event, I felt this was a great initiative that attempted to construct a roadmap to co-create smart cities in Bangladesh. While this is an ambitious task, from my own experience with the government of India's Smart City Mission, it is a much-needed one.

The Smart City Week brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in the urban space—policymakers, city leaders, planners, authorities, communities and students. I was part of this diversity and represented IPE Global, which is an international development consultancy with its roots in India. While I shared some of our experiences of working in multiple and challenging Indian cities as part of the government's Smart City Mission, there was a realisation that many of the innovations that are tried and tested in our homeground can be dovetailed into the Bangladesh context.
One of the most attractive aspects of this Smart City Week was for people to participate, to develop a homegrown vision towards a Bangladeshi Smart City. This is important to emphasise as creating solutions that are suited to a particular social, political and economic context is critical. Moreover, a city can only be smart if it addresses the challenges of its slum-dwellers and I think this could be a common ground for India and Bangladesh to learn and share experiences with each other.

The other point of learning for the two countries could also be the use of technology to build inclusive cities that look after the poor and vulnerable. To me, this is the top line that defines a “smart city,” its ability to look after those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.

An integrated planning approach could support in addressing the needs of the poor in our cities. IPE Global has used this integrated approach for our work; an example will be from the State of Madhya Pradesh which is in Central India. One of the major components of this approach included creating an integrated cluster based approach to solid waste management. This resulted in significant reduction in transaction costs of solid waste management. Another integrated approach was to build and develop comprehensive water supply and sanitation system. Thirdly, integrated urban service centres were envisioned.

These centres would provide real-time data on multiple services while addressing citizen complaints and grievances in record time and with significantly reduced transaction costs. This ensured better coordination among various urban agencies like municipalities, development authorities and departments like police, transport and planning.

Cities are the centre of economic growth, innovation and empowerment. They are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda 2030. It is, therefore, encouraging to see Bangladesh gearing up to take on this challenge. It is the responsibility of the development community in Bangladesh to support the government in making our cities sustainable and truly smart. Learning from best practices from around the globe would be a logical start.

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