Monday, 26 September, 2022

Costly Fuel

Surplus power exports to India becomes uncompetitive

Experts suggest clean energy in the country's long term energy policy

  • Special Correspondent
  • 22 September, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The costly fuel import to produce electricity is making Bangladesh's surplus power export to India uncompetitive, said the experts.

They made the remarks on the first day of a two-day long seminar styled as "Socio-Economic Impact of Cross Border Energy Trade (CBET) at the South Asian Sub Regional level: A Bangladesh Perspective."

The seminar was organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) in association with USAID Bangladesh in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power and Energy Waseqa A Khan attended the seminar as the chief guest while the Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain was present as the special guest.

BEI President Humayun Kabir, senior energy adviser of the office of economic growth USAID Bangladesh, senior research director of BEI Faiz Sobhan, Research director of BIISS Dr Mahfuz Kabir also attended the seminar, moderated by project director SARI/EI, IRADe Pankaj Bhatra.

Research director of BIISS Dr. Mahfuz Kabir said the cross border energy trade may benefit the South Asian nations, especially Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan.

He called upon the countries to make the ecosystem for private investors friendly.

Kabir said the mini solar produces per unit of electricity at Tk 30 whereas it’s only 6-7 rupees in India.

Besides, Bangladesh can get trade benefits to import solar panels from India replacing China as the cost of the solar panel is lower in India than China, he said.

At the meeting, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power and Energy Waseqa A Khan said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared to produce 40 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2041.

Bangladesh is planning to import more renewable energy from neighbouring countries through cross border energy trade due to scarcity of land, she said.         

At the seminar, the BEI unveiled a policy paper on cross border energy trade.

The paper said the present day CBET in BBIN countries is mainly executed at the bilateral level, not on a multilateral platform.

“For that, the high prospects of CBET cannot be fully utilised. Bangladesh should be proactive in pursuing other nations of the region to enter into a multilateral arrangement to attain mutual benefits immediately,” it said.

The BEI paper said that from this perspective, BIMSTEC could be a crucial platform for promoting regional cooperation.

BIMSTEC is not working as expected, and by revitalising the platform, equitable and socio-economically beneficial CBET can be accelerated, it added.

According to BEI, the relationship between Bangladesh and India is at an all-time high, and Bangladesh should take the initiative to speed up the warm relations towards a more equitable space for multilateral cooperation, it also said.

For long term CBET policy, Bangladesh should keep an eye on sustainability and clean energy, it added.

“Bangladesh is very densely populated, and the burden of overpopulation is clearly evident in the recent symptoms of environmental degradation and deforestation," BEI policy paper said.

"Moreover, Bangladesh is already facing the toll of global climate change,” it said, adding, “All power plans, including CBET, should prioritise exploring renewable and clean energy.”