Government Policy

 ‘Demand, supply need to be matched to ensure low-cost power, energy’

Bangladesh’s power and energy sector has now moved into the second generation of problems where challenges have shifted from concerns of electricity production to pricing and energy mix issues.

The sector is now facing growing challenges of inefficiency, cost escalation, lack of cleaner energy-mix, poor quality of transmission and distribution and rising financial burden.

So experts underscored the need for smart coordination between the demand and supply sides of the power sector to provide low-cost power and energy in the country.

While raising concerns over generation surplus in the power sector, they called on focusing more on transmission and distribution of electricity in the future.

Improvement of transmission and distribution of electricity should be a major focus of the power sector during the 8th Five Year Plan period, they said.

The focus should also be given on strengthening the capacity of implementing renewable energy projects, and both traditional and non-traditional renewable energy projects should get priority in the upcoming policy document, they said.

Experts also highlighted the need for institutional reform in the power sector for developing a sustainable power and energy sector in the country.

The suggestions came up at the virtual expert group discussion “Reflections of the Power Sector in the Upcoming 8th Five Year Plan: Perspectives on Strategies and Initiatives” organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

At the discussion, CPD Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem suggested that an alignment of the demand projection should be made, by the upcoming power system master plan (PSMP) 2021, with other policy documents.

The energy mix which is highly biased towards fossil-fuel should be gradually rebalanced with setting up renewable energy-based projects, Moazzem said.

“Power sector needs to shift its focus from the ‘emergency management’ of the 2010s to ‘market-led’ management – which needs to be initiated by 2021-2030.”

Energy expert Dr M Tamim said, “We should move out of oil-based electricity as soon as possible. We will have to face a lot of challenges if we don’t go forward with an integrated plan.”

Professor Dr M Shamsul Alam, dean of faculty of engineering at Daffodil International University, said: “The companies which have no experience in the power and energy sector are getting work orders worth thousands of crores.”

“There are no technical experts at the Planning Division but it is making documents and plans without taking stock of the real situation.”

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) Chairman Mohammad Alauddin said they called on giving more attention to the power sector in the 8th Five Year Plan.

“We focused on renewable energy and have a road map as well. Our institutional capacity will be doubled by 2021.”

Alauddin, also an additional secretary at the Power Division, said: “We have a chance to set up solar panels on the rooftops of the factories in the economic zones.”

Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell at the Power Division, said: “There is no renewable alternative, with the potential to replace coal-based power, in the country now to ensure electricity for all.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh