Coping with the staggering demand for new power connections has become a major challenge for Bangladesh in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a UNCTAD report.
This year’s report on the least developed countries (LDCs), the organization said Bangladesh will require some 20-30 percent new electricity connections every year.
Along with it, Bangladesh needs to ensure uninterrupted, environment-friendly and affordable renewable energy for all, said Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) while releasing the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at a press conference in Dhaka on Wednesday.
CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun made the presentation on the UNCTAD report while CPD Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman and CPD Research Fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan explained different aspects of the report.
CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem moderated the programme.
The civil society think-tank said Bangladesh has attained some success in developing a domestic solar industry, which accounted for an estimated 1,40,000 jobs in 2016.
Quoting Fahmida BSS said, "While jobs in solar home systems are now plateauing, employment in mini-grid and solar pumping is increasing as the government is devoting greater attention to these areas."
CPD called for ensuring good governance in the energy sector to produce low-cost energy and make the country developed one by 2041.
Referring to a data of 2014, CPD informed that access of electricity was nearly 60 percent in 2014, which is the lowest among all the Asian LDCs.
It also said the government will have to ensure equal supply of energy to both urban and rural areas as electricity is equally essential in rural area for agriculture production.
"The urban area in Bangladesh dominates in terms of electrification rate, but it is still low compared to world average. Only half of the rural population in Bangladesh has access to electricity," it opined.
A total of 47 countries, including Bangladesh, are currently designated by the UN as LDCs.
According to the UNCTAD report, around 577 million people or 62 percent of the population do not have access to electricity in the LDCs.
Achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 will require a 350 percent increase in the number of people in the least developed countries gaining access each year, compared with the last decade.
Mustafizur Rahman said affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all will play a vital role to achieve SDGs and Vision-2041.
While focusing on different sides of the report, Fahmida said LDCs will have to ensure a robust regularity and governance systems, clear vision of the roles of the public and private sectors, diverse and flexible mix of electricity and technologies, responsible affordability for users and adequate conditions to leverage public and private finance.
She said LDCs need a science, technology and innovation (STI) policy framework that pays adequate attention to modern energy technologies, especially renewable-based ones.
For providing affordable electricity, she said, LDCs will require US$12 billion to $40 billion investments for achieving universal access to electricity for all by 2030.