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Bangladesh, US aim to boost energy co-op

  • Diplomatic Corresponden
  • 31st July, 2021 12:00:00 AM
  • Print news

Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury has termed the private sector as the main driving force in the Bangladesh-US relations on energy and power.  

He was speaking at a meeting titled ‘Energy Roundtable’ organised by the US-Bangladesh Business Council (USBBC) in Washington, DC on Thursday.

This was the first in-person meeting of the council since its formal launching in April this year.  

Tawfiq-e-Elahi, in his remarks, recognised the important role of the US companies in Bangladesh’s energy and power sectors and welcomed their further contributions in these areas.  He also encouraged them to invest in oil and gas explorations in the country, particularly the offshore ones.

The PM’s adviser expressed Bangladesh Government’s willingness to partner with the US private sectors in the research and development of uninterrupted and affordable renewable energy sources.

He also urged the US companies to explore the prospects of nuclear power modular reactors in Bangladesh.

Tawfiq-e-Elahi mentioned that Bangladesh had been working closely with its neighbours — India, Nepal, and Bhutan — on regional power distribution, and the US companies may explore opportunities for investment there. 

While making welcome remarks at the roundtable, President of the USBBC Nisha Deshai Biswal expressed deep commitments of her organisation to advance the two countries’ energy partnership by supporting Bangladesh’s growing energy needs.

She also apprised the adviser of the upcoming ‘Energy Taskforce’ of the USBBC to build a knowledge base for expanding energy cooperation with Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Ambassador to the US M Shahidul Islam, senior management officials from several US companies, including Chevron, Cheniere, Excelerate Energy, ExxonMobil, GE Power and SunEdison, as well as officials from the US Chamber, USBBC, and Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC, also attended the event.      

Earlier, Tawfiq-e-Elahi held a meeting with Acting Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources Ambassador Virginia E Palmer to discuss Bangladesh-US energy cooperation.

During the meeting, Ambassador Palmer expressed her government’s willingness to work with Bangladesh to deepen its energy cooperation, particularly in renewable energy and nuclear power production.

Mentioning climate change as an important component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s energy policy, Palmer praised Bangladesh’s recent move to cancel 10 coal-powered plants in the country.

Appreciating the US proposals, Tawfiq-e-Elahi emphasised exploring the possibility of joint research and development projects by the two countries on renewable energy storage and nuclear power modular reactors to ensure uninterrupted power at an affordable cost in a country like Bangladesh.   

He further mentioned that having a balanced mix of energy sources is critical for Bangladesh and its development as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to providing electricity to all citizens.

The PM’s adviser also discussed the potentials of South Asia for regional power distribution with Ambassador Palmer and welcomed any US projects that would meet the needs of the countries of the region vis-à-vis energy sharing.

In the morning, he attended a session at the Washington, DC-based leading think tank Atlantic Council on Bangladesh’s energy policy and outlook.

During the conversation, Tawfiq-e-Elahi appraised the roundtable of the various initiatives in energy and power sector including renewable energy under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh’s leadership role in climate change adaptation and creative mitigation.