Govt to import solar power from India

The government is planning to import solar power from India, increasing dependence on renewable energy to mitigate the electricity demands across the country. The power division under the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources has a plan to import solar energy from India to fulfill the electricity demands in pick hours. Recently a report has been submitted to the parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources.

The report stated that there are two pick hours in the country, which are day and evening. The demand for electricity during pick hours has been fulfilled through oil-based power plants. In consideration of the high cost of electricity generation from oil, the report called for emphasising solar energy. However, there is a scarcity of land for producing solar energy in the country and the production cost is also high. But in neighbouring county India, the production cost of solar power is much lower and there are sufficient lands. So, the government can fulfill the demands of daytime pick-hour electricity importing solar power from India.

Some areas in India have the advantage of solar power generation with their different time zoning, from which Bangladesh local time has a big difference.
According to official sources, electricity generation has doubled in the country over the last 10 years. However, no notable success has been achieved in producing electricity from renewable sources.

In a bid to increase power production in the country the government embarked on efforts to produce clean and environment energy from renewable sources, apart from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. To this end, the government approved Renewable Energy Policy in 2012. The policy identified solar energy, wind energy, biomass, hydro, bio-fuel, geo thermal, etc as the main sources of renewable energy. To produce electricity from these sources the policy also kept provision for different facilities including financial incentives to encourage private investment.

As per the guidelines of the policy, the government took up a plan to produce 10 percent of the country’s total electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. As per the plan, 2000MW electricity was supposed to be added to the national grid by 2020. However, only 330MW solar-based power has been added to the national grid over last 10 years while 286MW has come from solar home system, experts said.

According to the present report of power division, now the country has the ability to produce 340MW solar power. In 2016, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) put forward a master plan to the government. According the master plan, it would be possible for Bangladesh to produce 3,666MW renewable energy. Out of the total amount, 2680MW power production is possible from solar-based power plants.

Concerned people are of the opinion that even though emphasis was laid on solar energy, the government and donor agencies will have be more attentive to increase the sector’s contribution in power generation.