Staff Correspondent
The government is going to set up a 50MW solar power plant at Sonagazi in Feni with the help of World Bank (WB).
State-owned Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB) Ltd will construct the solar photovoltaic power plant during July 2019 to June 2021 period, officials said.
The World Bank (WB) is likely to provide US$ 188 million worth of funds for setting up a 50-megawatt (MW) solar power plant and renewable energy development works, officials said.
The government in a meeting last week decided to take the financial assistance from the Washington-based lender.
The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) will install solar home systems with the WB assistance. Besides, the Sustainable Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) will improve policies for increasing use of the alternative energy in Bangladesh.
The World Bank will provide Tk 621 crore to the estimated project cost, while the government will bear Tk 87.54 crore and EGCB will bear Tk 38 crore.
“We sat for an inter-ministerial meeting in Dhaka. The implementing agencies and the Economic Relations Division (ERD) have agreed to borrow the funds,” said an official.
The officials said the WB funds will help the government to fulfil its target of ensuring use of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
The government wants to increase the use of environment-friendly renewable power. In its renewable energy policy 2008, the government has set a target of generating 10 percent of total power equivalent to 2,000MW by 2020 from renewable sources, according to power division officials.
So far the government has been able to raise solar power generation capacity to 306MW in line with a perspective plan to meet increasing demand of power, they added.
The mid-term development agenda of the government –7th five-year plan — looks for generating 500MW of solar power of which 340MW is expected to come from private sector and 160MW from public sector.
In parallel, the government is also trying to get some power utilizing wind sources. EGCB floated two separate tenders, inviting separate joint venture (JV) partners to implement a 100 megawatt (MW) solar power plant and a 10 MW wind-based power plant at Sonagazi in Feni district.
Although rooftop solar has already seen considerable levels of development in the country, the potential of large-scale solar and renewable remains so far almost completely untapped.
Solar Irrigation Pump is also boosting the prospects of agriculture economy as well as environmental protection. Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) has initiated to install 50,000 solar irrigation pumps in the next seven years.
IDCOL has approved more than a thousand of solar irrigation pumps of which 950 are already in operation with a cumulative capacity of 18MWp. Some NGOs and private organizations are installing and supervising the pumps.
Earlier, IDCOL started the solar home system (SHS) programme in January 2003 to fulfil basic electricity requirement of the off-grid rural people of Bangladesh as well as supplement the Government’s vision of ensuring access to electricity for all citizens of Bangladesh by 2021.
About 4.5 million SHSs have been installed under the programme in the remote areas where electrification through grid expansion is challenging and costly. The programme has been acclaimed as the largest off-grid renewable energy programme in the world.