Priority for renewable energy must

BANGLADESH is now passing through a crisis period when short supply of power and energy seriously hampers production in agriculture and industry. The country almost entirely depends on conventional sources of energy like oil and gas to meet its energy demand. But imported oil is too costly while proven gas reserve that now fuels some 80 percent of power generation is likely to exhaust within three to four years. The situation demands harnessing other energy resources including windmills, solar panel, bio-gas, sea waves, river current and nuclear power.

Coal has a high prospect for power generation. The country has a proven reserve of 2,086 million tones of quality coal, which is enough to generate 5,000 MW of electricity per day for up to 90 years. The local coal is safer environmentally and will save about US$500 million spent for annual oil import. But Bangladesh’s coal potential is still untapped in the main.

According to a projection, Bangladesh will need some 10,000 MW and 15,000 MW of electricity by 2015 and 2020. But this is not likely to be achieved depending only on conventional resources.

 According to sources, Bangladesh government has a target of meeting 500 MW and 1,500 MW of electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and 2020 which is inadequate even for planning only and it should be at least 1,500 MW & 3,000 MW. Annual average wind speed at 30 meter height along the coastal belt is above 5 m/s. According to latest technological development, as much as 13 MW of electricity can be produced from a single windmill. According to reports, some 2,000 MW of power can be produced installing 30 windmills per Sq. Km along the 724 Km coastline. Use of latest technology can increase it further.

 The number of solar-home-systems already installed at some two lakh homes can also be increased. According to reports, the government is contemplating to produce 3,000 MW of electricity from wind-based and another 2,000 MW from solar sources in the near future. Efforts must be geared up to harness maximum benefits from all possible renewable resources.

 It is now the time to switch our energy generation sources from conventional bio-fuel like diesel, furnace oil & natural gas to renewable/green sources of energy like Wind Mill, Solar Panel, Bio-Gas and as much as possible from hydro-electric plant, the cheapest and least maintenance source of green energy.

 For the purpose the country need to explore immediately the use of water resources of the rivers of Bangladesh and specially the flow of river Padma the biggest source, which may give us at least 6,000 MW of electricity from a single source. Along side we need to build few more coal based combined cycle power plants of at least 4,000 MW and if possible Nuclear Power Plants to enable to closing down the existing fuel oil and gas based power plants gradually and to divert the gas saved thereby to other use of industrialization and other civic needs and dependency on imported fuels.

The per unit generation cost of power were calculated as under :

Fuel Oil                         $0.35/Kw

Natural Gas                  $0.10/Kw

Nuclear                          $0.05/Kw

Hydro Electric             $0.02/Kw

Windmill                         $0.03/Kw

Solar Panel                     $0.02 /Kw

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