Vision-2021: Power for all

By Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo

DHAKA, Mar 5, 2017 (BSS) - The present government is pledged-bound to supply electricity uninterrupted to all citizens within 2021 by way of materializing the Vision-2021 with over 80 percent people already enjoying power facility now.

Only 47 percent people of the country had access to electricity before 2009 with the generation capacity of 4,942 MW, which has now jumped up to 15,351 MW.

"We have targeted all citizens to be under electricity coverage by 2021 and now the power generation capacity reached to 15,351 MW, three times higher in eight years," State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, MP, told BSS here yesterday.

Over the last eight years, he said, the power sector witnessed a tremendous progress in the country's socio-economic arena, leading to employment generation, food production, increased literacy rate and women development.

The government has been working relentlessly with the main thrust 24,000 MW (Megawatt) electricity by 2021aimed at improving living and livelihood condition of the poor and other vulnerable communities, Nasrul said.

He said the number of power plants in the country was only 27 when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office in 2009, while the number of plants now stood at 108.

Officials of the power division said 697 MW electricity is expected to be generated from renewable energy by 2019 to add another feather of success in the efforts of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, 433 MW power comes from the same sources.

They said the government has been pursuing continuous efforts for speedy power production from probable sources. "The government approved 16 projects for producing 975 MW power from the sources of renewable energy," they said.

Since there is a huge demand for solar energy in the country, Hamid said the government has planned for solar parks on 2000 acres at Mirsharai and Gaibandha to help industries.

Talking to BSS, an electricity user at Mohammadpur in the city said the present government has undertaken various steps in the power and energy sectors over the last eight years. "My family and neighbours are using all home appliances with seldom any power crisis," he said.

Officials said the government has targeted to increase power generation capacity to 24,000 MW by 2021 and is constructing transmission and distribution lines for steady supply of electricity to the agriculture and industrial sectors.

Talking to BSS Director General of Power Cell under Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Engineer Mohammad Hossain said the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been implementing a master-plan to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021; 40,000 MW by 2030 and 60,000 MW by 2041.

In this regard, Sustainable and Renewable Development Authority (SREDA) has been formed as a unique entity under the SREDA Act-2012, he said.

Eng Hossain said target has been set to raise the power generation from renewable energy to 10 percent by 2020 and afterwards as per the Renewable Energy Policy. "To materialize this goal, a plan has been undertaken to generate some 3,100 MW power by 2021 based on renewable energy."

Putting emphasis on bilateral and international cooperation, the power cell chief said the government has signed a number of agreements over the last eight years as around 600 MW of power is being imported from India under the Bangladesh-India cooperation agreement while steps have been taken to import 500 MW of more power.

Talks are underway to import hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan as well as power and gas from Myanmar.

Engineer Hossain said due to the relentless efforts of the present government, the current per capita power generation capacity has been raised to 407 kilowatt hour from 220 kilowatt hour in 2009.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)