Revving up clean energy adoption
Anisur Rahman | Thursday, 26 January 2023
An Indian farmer has installed solar panels for the purpose of irrigation. Once he had to pay hefty bills for watering his crops on a monthly basis. But now he is no more required to pay any monthly bill. The only cost was the one-time instalment expense. That's all. After installation, now he is irrigating his crops free of cost. Moreover, he is earning by supplying the extra power to the national grid and thus he is recovering the installation cost. This is how he is gaining personally. But, on the other hand, it also benefits Nature. Solar power is pollution-free. It emits no greenhouse gas. To reap this dual benefit India has set a target to generate 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by the end of this decade.
Now let's come to Bangladesh. The country is lagging far behind in adoption of renewable energy. Bangladesh targets 40 per cent power generation from clean energy by 2041. Why is it going so slow, especially when the country is suffering from myriad problems? The Power Development Board is failing to pay the bills to the power plants for its purchase of electricity. Now it plans to raise the power price once again.
If it fails to pay the bills for its gas and electricity purchase, the power generation will be hampered in the upcoming summer season, badly hampering irrigation. So, there is every possibility that the power price will be enhanced shortly. On January 18 the gas price was raised by the Ministry of Energy and Power. Before that, in November last year the bulk power price was raised by 20 per cent. As a result, the power price at the consumer level was raised by 5.0 per cent. With every hike in gas and power prices, the common people are left to bear the brunt of it. Already the inflation rate is above 8.0 per cent. No sign is in sight that it will abate very soon. While the US looks to bring down the inflation rate to 3.0 per cent, in Bangladesh nobody can say whenthe rise (in the rate of inflation) will stop. At the root of this problem lies the issue of power generation using fossil fuel. If we could enhance our power generation from renewable source at a faster pace, that could lessen the reliance on fossil fuel and give the common people the much-needed relief from the price shock. What bars the policy planners from going for power generation from renewable source on a large scale remains a mystery.
At present, the installed capacity of power from renewable source is 950MW in the country. It is heartening to note that a large number of projects are being implemented to generate power from renewable sources. But the pace of adopting clean energy should be revved up, since power generation from renewable energy is a bit cheaper now. That will not only relieve the consumers of paying hefty bills but also protect environment from pollution.