The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has suggested prioritising clean energy and green growth in the national budget for the next fiscal year in the context of changing national and global perspectives amid the fight against adverse effects of climate change.
“Unfortunately, the proposed budget for the power sector has little reflections of that perspective,” the think-tank observed.
These observations emerged at the CPD’s Virtual Dialogue on ‘The Power Sector in the National Budget for FY2022: Perspectives on Allocative Priorities & Reform Agenda’ on Sunday, according to a press release.
The CPD said the power sector continued relying on fossil-fuel-based power generation and related transmission and distribution as its case of achievement.
The organisation also said after the preliminary achievements, the success of the power sector should be determined with a new narrative focusing on efficiency, better pricing, low carbon emission power generation and improvement of transmission and distribution.
CPD’s Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem made the keynote presentation at the dialogue.
Pointing out the increased allocation for the power sector, Khondaker Golam Moazzem said in the keynote presentation that higher allocation does not explain adding new projects rather a majority of the distribution-related projects are ‘carryover’ projects which portray inefficiency in project implementation.
“The allocation for distribution and transmission for different agencies shows both reduction and increase in the budget which portrays skewed nature of allocation and subsequent adverse effect on electricity users of different areas,” the CPD research director said.
CPD’s Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan also spoke at the dialogue. He questioned the continuation of many power plants, which should have been retired by now. He also urged the experts to identify how much of the excess capacity has attributed to distribution failure.
in the introductory remarks, CPD’s Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman stated that a lot of attention has been created about how the proposed budget is planned to shift its focus and allocation both towards reduction of fossil-fuel-based power generation and enhancement of renewable energy-based power generation.
Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell under Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, and Mohammad Alauddin, Chairman (Additional Secretary) of SREDA under Power Division of Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, were present as guests of honour at the dialogue.
Mohammad Hossain stated that the government is committed to reducing carbon emission and there are efforts to phase out coal energy.
“Quick rental power plants will be gradually phased out,” he added.
SREDA Chairman Alauddin said that there is a need to look for renewable energy beyond solar and wind energy for which more research is required.
Dr M Tamim, a professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said that the excess capacity of energy generation exists in paper only and not in reality.
He further recommended analysing the sector by looking beyond the budget and considering the real scenario.
Imran Karim, President of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers’ Association (BIPPA), recommended that Bangladesh should have the capacity to toggle between various fuels to reduce energy generation cost.
Asif Ashraf, Director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), sought tax incentives for businesses that generate solar energy.
Mahmood Malik, Executive Director and CEO of Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), opined that rooftop solar energy can be a good source of renewable energy in Bangladesh, which can be used beyond industrial purpose.
DM Majibor Rahman, President of Solar Mini-Grid Association, proposed a core committee of engineers for research and analysis for efficient generation of solar energy.
Farseem Mannan Mohammedy, Director of Centre for Energy Studies of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said she does not find any special initiative is taken into consideration for the power and energy sector.
In the closing remarks as the chair, CPD’s Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun highlighted the progress of Bangladesh in the power and energy sector.
She also underscored the necessity of ensuring the quality of energy.
“Uninterrupted power supply is crucial, otherwise production cost and efficiency of industries are hampered. CPD will continue pursuing its effort for green growth and clean energy initiatives in the country taking into account the country’s long-term commitments,” she added.
High-level policymakers, political leaders, academics, development practitioners, business leaders, civil society activists, international development partners and journalists also joined the programme, among others.