8th Five-Year Plan

Experts for rational power demand projection

Staff Correspondent

25 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh’s power sector is increasingly facing challenges in the area of inefficiency, cost escalation, lack of cleaner energy-mix, poor quality of transmission and distribution and rising financial burden, energy experts said at a discussion on Thursday.

These challenges are likely to aggravate in the future and hence it is important to take lessons to ensure proper implementation of the 8th five-year plan, they noted.

Private think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the virtual discussion titled “Reflections of the Power Sector in the Upcoming 8thFive Year Plan: Perspectives on Strategies and Initiatives.” Improvement of transmission and distribution systems should be a major focus of the power sector during 8thFYP period, the suggested.

Focus should also be given on strengthening the capacity of implementing renewable energy projects, and both traditional and non-traditional renewable energy projects should get priority in the upcoming policy document, the experts noted.

CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun delivered the introductory remarks where she highlighted the importance of institutional reforms in the power sector for developing a sustainable power and energy sector in the country.

In his keynote paper, CPD’s research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem suggested that an alignment of the demand projection should be made by the upcoming power sector master plan (PSMP) 2021 while other policy documents will be highly important. The energy mix which is highly biased towards fossil-fuel should be gradually rebalanced with setting up renewable energy-based projects, he said.

Dr Moazzem also highlighted that the 8th FYP should highlight appropriate mechanism to lessen the fiscal pressure, huge import payment and debt burden caused in case of different power sector related activities.

While speaking as a panellist, Mohammad Alauddin, Chairman of Sustainable & Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), stated that moving renewable energy sources relying only on solar energy would not be enough. He said more studies need to be conducted regarding opportunities of producing wind energy in Bangladesh. Echoing with CPD’s presentation, he emphasized institutional strengthening of the SREDA by increasing human resources. Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain remarked that the high reserve margin of generation is due to the low demand for power in the COVID-19 scenario. He said the government is taking due measures in addressing rising cost, inefficiency and higher financial burden on the power sector.

Dr M Tamim, Prof, Department of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dr Ijaz Hossain, Prof, Department of Chemical Engineering of BUET, Prof Dr M Shamsul Alam, Dean, Faculty of Engineering of Daffodil International University, and Professor Chowdhury Md. Shahriar Ahmed, Assistant Professor and Director, Centre for Energy Research (CER) also joined the dialogue as panellists.

The energy experts also expressed concern over surplus electricity generation and suggested focusing more on transmission and distribution of electricity in the coming days.

While moderating the session, CPD’s Distinguished Fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman emphasised that the power and energy sector has now moved into the second generation of problems where challenges have moved from concerns from electricity generation to pricing and energy mix issues.