IMMEDIATE IMPACT, CURRENT SCENARIO AND WAY FORWARD
In a fresh move, the government of Bangladesh raised prices of all fuel oils on August 5 with effect from the midnight. As per the latest chart, diesel price was raised by Tk 34 to Tk 114 per litre, octane by Tk 46 to Tk 135 and petrol by Tk 44 to Tk 130. The hiked price of kerosene now stands at Tk 114. The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources issued a notification to this effect on the day. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid earlier on the day said a further hike in the price of electricity was likely as he hinted at readjusting the tariffs to global price rises. “We’re thinking about readjusting the tariffs of power and oils in line with the global prices,” he told the journalists at his Baridhara residence in Dhaka.
Earlier on July 25, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the government agencies as well as the people to pursue austerity to save energy and money in the present crisis. She issued the fresh instructions while presiding over the weekly Cabinet meeting virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban four days after the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a set of new directives mainly to cut power consumption. Ministers of the Cabinet and secretaries concerned joined the meeting from the secretariat. Later, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader emerging from the meeting said to journalists, “The Prime Minister has asked all to cut down expenditures. It is a global crisis and Bangladesh is facing the same. We cannot say at the moment whether the crisis would increase further.”
In fact, the austerity measures adopted in Bangladesh is not any isolated move taken hastily to rein in energy crisis! The whole world is getting devoured by this energy crisis in an unprecedented way. True indeed, the globe is presently facing an energy crisis due to lack of sufficient fossil fuel energy such as coal, oil, natural gas and other energy sources against huge demand. Energy Specialist Jason Bordoff of Columbia University aptly said, “We are experiencing the first global energy crisis.” This year, Europe has seen a multi-fold rise in natural gas costs, while China has seen several companies getting shut owing to power outages prompted by lack of coal. In addition to this, many of the petrol pumps in the United Kingdom are running out of fuel, and the military of the nation has been called in to quell any unrest. Meanwhile, our neighbouring country India’s power plants are operating using extremely little coal due to lack of fuel. Bangladesh is no different in this regard as general people and the industry owners have been experiencing load-shedding all over the country. “The ripple effects are felt everywhere, and I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it yet,” Jason Bordoff pointed out. The escalated competition for limited resources is causing severe impact on the global energy markets. To create a sustainable framework for achieving energy efficiency, it is crucial to get an insight into the reasons of this phenomenon.
You can also read our another article about Prime Minister places four proposals to address global crisis
REASONS FOR ENERGY CRISIS
Robust Economic Recovery
One of the key reasons for which the world is observing the current energy crisis is because of robust economic recovery from the Pandemic. In fact, the velocity of the economy’s recuperation in 2021 has been faster than anticipated, which has escalated demand for gas around the world. In 2021, we expected global demand to increase by 3.6 percent. And the demand is expected to continue increasing in the upcoming years, albeit at a slower rate, to reach roughly 4300bcm by 2024, a 7 percent increase from pre-Covid levels, unless significant policy measures are made to restrict global gas consumption.
Climate Conditions and Economic Activities
In both Asia and Europe, the two largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) rival markets, competition was heightened by a significant supply decrease. However, it also resulted in a reduction in the amount of United States’ LNG cargoes that would have regularly left at this time for Asia and Europe in order to fulfil the region’s increasing need for heating in winter. As the year went on, the situation grew worse as summer heatwaves in Europe, Asia, and the United States caused a spike in demand for air conditioning.
Moreover, heavy rains in South and South-East Asia have made coal mining challenging in nations like India and China; which is why these nations are currently experiencing a coal crisis. There was a severe coal shortage in August among power plants, which caused shortages in India. According to India’s Central Electricity Authority, the country’s total coal stock dropped from 37.41 million metric tonne (mt) in January 2021 to 8.32 million metric tonne (mt) in August.
Presence of Geopolitics
The rupture of diplomatic ties between Algeria and Morocco had an impact on gas imports into Europe from Algeria via Morocco. Russia, which accounts for 44 percent of the total gas exported to the European Union (EU) in 2020, enormously reduced its gas exports to Europe through the Ukrainian gas pipeline due to the geo-political conflict with Ukraine.
The price of crude oil climbed by 350 percent in nominal terms between April 2020 and April 2022, which is the highest increase for any comparable two-year period since the 1970s.In the meantime, nominal prices for gas and coal have all risen to historic highs.
Over the first two weeks of June, 2022, the price of natural gas per megawatt-hour in Europe has soared by 60% while the worldwide gas supply has decreased because of technical problems. On June 16, natural gas reached its highest price at €124.36 since March 2022.The summer of 2022’s spot LNG prices in Asia are at their greatest level for this time of year. This soar in price is eventually adversely affecting the global energy market.
Many view the increase in energy costs as evidence of “greenflation,” which they attribute to growing government limitations on conventional energy sources. It is thought that the vigorous promotion of renewable energy sources by governments may have discouraged investors from making adequate investments in conventional energy sources, which resulted in a lack of supplies to satisfy expanding demand.
ADVERSE IMPACT ON GLOBAL MARKET
Increases in energy prices exacerbate inflationary pressures, which is detrimental to the post-Covid recovery curve. As of July, 2022 the inflation rate as energy costs surge, the inflation rate in the Eurozone reaches a record high of 8.9 percent. The average wholesale price increases for gas and electricity from 2019 to 2021 (September), according to data from the Commission, were 429 percent and 230 percent respectively. This has resulted in significant price increases, output restrictions, and rising costs for energy-intensive industrial products (aluminium prices rose to a 13-year high of $3,000/metric tonne), as well as widespread protests throughout the zone.
People who struggle to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks are suffering as a result of the global energy crisis. More than doubling from an average price of $1.92 per thousand cubic feet in September 2020 to $5.16 last month, natural gas prices have increased faster than those of motor fuels. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), the national average price of fuel this week was $3.36 per gallon, up almost 55 percent over the previous year. Even though, the energy crisis scenario is not same at USA as Europe, consumers may still face some hardships in the coming months.
An increase in energy demand during the UK’s chilly winter in August 2021 caused a gas supply shortage all over the country. Within the last year, the wholesale cost of gas has climbed by 335 percent whereas energy bills of household were drastically increased by 85 percent in the country. Situations worsen to the extent that individuals are now forced to choose between heating their homes and purchasing food. There are four small energy providers in the UK that couldn’t raise retail energy prices due to government’s restriction and also could not pay their operating costs have now gone out of business.
Record heat waves and severe electricity shortages are driving homes and businesses to go dark across much of the Middle East. This summer, temperatures in various Middle Eastern nations have exceeded 50 degrees Celsius. Iran recorded a temperature of 123.8 while Iraq came close to matching the previous record of 125.2. Power grids are unable to handle demand due to decades of underinvestment and neglect. Hydroelectric generation is suffering from the drought. Governments are increasingly having difficulty paying for the fuel required to produce electricity due to the economic crisis shaking various nations.
Beijing has ordered power restrictions for businesses and manufacturing in more than a dozen provinces of China’s energy-intensive economy. In certain provinces, manufacturers have even been ordered to shut down completely for a few days each week. Since May, factory owners have relied more and more on diesel generators to keep their operations going while the energy crisis got worse. Due to China’s high factory electricity demand and slower than anticipated coal mine output, energy prices have more than doubled this year. Twenty of China’s 31 provinces are currently restricting electricity, which has an influence on the production of aluminium, steel, cement, and fertilizer. Howie Lee, an economist at Singapore’s OCBC Bank, claims that China’s energy shortage “is set to have a rippling effect around the world” from Asia to Europe.
If the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, energy shortages in the Asia-Pacific economies risk getting worse in the next months. One of the clearest examples of what an energy crisis can do to a nation can be seen in Kazakhstan, where widespread protests were sparked by a 100 percent price increase on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Another country in Central Asia, Tajikistan, has experienced rolling blackouts since November, which have left a large portion of the population without electricity outside of the country’s major towns. Similar power outages have been occurring in Uzbekistan, which officials have attributed to bad weather.
Indonesia, one of the biggest coal suppliers to China in the world, stunned everyone at the beginning of this year by suspending exports, a move it has only partly loosened to prevent blackouts at home as energy prices have risen.
India has experienced blackouts, coal shortages, and intense summer heat for several months. According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, India restricted coal deliveries to industrial consumers in order to prioritize power plants in April, when average coal-fired power generation achieved a new record despite high international prices causing a decline in coal imports.
With rising worldwide prices and insufficient reserves, Pakistan is not doing much better at all, but instead of a coal shortage, it is facing a gas shortage, which is a perfect storm for the nation. As temperatures across the nation climb, reaching 50 degrees Celsius in some parts, Pakistan has endured hours-long power outages over the past month, with urban centres experiencing four to six-hour outages a day and rural areas over eight hours. Pakistan is also experiencing a balance of payments crisis as a result of rising energy prices.
The 22-million-people crisis-hit nation Sri Lanka is down to barely 15,000 tons of gasoline and diesel to keep vital services running for the coming days.Sri Lanka also implemented a 12–22 percent increase in the price of petrol and the increased price stimulate the inflation rate 45.3 percent which is the highest since 2015. In June, 2022 the price of diesel increased by 15 percent to 460 rupees per litre and soared the price of petrol by 22 percent to 550 rupees per litre. The government concentrates on distributing the remaining stocks for public transportation, power generation, and medical services. As a result, people who are already waiting in miles-long queue outside of petrol pumps are unlikely to acquire fuel.
In Bangladesh, general people and the industry owners have been experiencing load-shedding all over the country. Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has power plants in the country with installed capacity to generate 25500 megawatts currently. Despite the big volume, what is causing this frequent power outage?
“The actual installed on-grid capacity of BPDB is about 22340 Megawatts (MW), the rest is off-grid or solar generated power and captive power. Bangladesh has a power generation potential of 22500 MW but it is untapped. Our record peak production is 15000 MW which can be increased to 17500 MW and with captive power it can be 22500 MW, not 25500 MW. The government’s policy was to provide electricity to all households, now if electricity goes to all households, the demand will also increase. Now if we look at our maximum generation capacity; whatever our installed capacity is, the maximum power generation capacity is 15000 MW. All our needs are to be met with this amount of electricity. But, currently we are not able to produce our maximum. The main reason is the high cost of energy sources. About 38 to 40 percent of our peak production capacity is generated by imported fuel.
Due to instability in the global market, the price of fuel has increased and we are not able to produce enough fuel, leaving a big gap in our power generation. The crisis is not mainly in the production centre, but the crisis is in the import of energy. If the power plant remains idle for lack of fuel, it is the same as not having it.”
What do you think is the central reason behind the electricity crisis in the country, how this situation came up in the first place?
“This situation is not created in a day and it is also based on price prediction. Before the Covid-19 pandemic fuel prices were low and the policy makers predicted that fuel prices will remain steady. On the other hand, given the state of our economy, the government felt that there would be no fuel related problems in the future. But, in the post-Covid period and more recently due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, fuel prices have skyrocketed, turning things upside down. Fuel demand fell during the Covid period because production was low, but in the post-Covid period, for the economic rebound and the drive to increase production, global fuel demand increased fast. That created a shortage of energy supply in the global market which rapidly increased the price of energy sources. The price which has started increasing since January 2021 was high and become higher after the war. The main focus of Bangladesh was to move away from dependence on oil. However, no one imagined that the price of gas would go up so much. Due to these issues, the energy crisis has become acute.”
Bangladesh has been in danger due to high gas prices in the international market for long. We remain largely import-dependent to meet our demand. What can we do to overcome this energy crisis?
“We need to build our own energy production capacity and reduce our dependence on imports. And, we have been saying since the beginning that the government should explore coal and gas, but it has not been done, although there are many reasons for this. At one time there was a movement against gas exploration through foreign companies where the environmental issue was brought up. As a result of their agitation, it was decided in 2006 that no exploration could be done offshore. By 2010, there was a ban on offshore and onshore exploration by foreign companies. Also, Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (BAPEX) has its shortcomings. They lack energy exploration capabilities. If they have that capabilities, then there is no need to bring foreign companies. Petrobangla too have this inability. They lack fuel exploration equipment and manpower. They explore with old technology. The government is also uninterested to this matter. Because of this we have become heavily dependent on foreign imports.”
The recent austerity measure taken by the government to address the current crisis is due mainly to reduction in power supply. Do you think it is a proper solution?
“As electricity cannot be generated as per demand, electricity has to be conserved. This situation will continue for some time, but we should look for a way out now and plan for the long term as well. We have another positive side; on next November during winter, the power demand will naturally decrease by 2000- 3000 MW. We have to make up for the power shortage so that we don’t face difficulties later.”
Finally, What Bangladesh can do to remedy this ongoing crisis?
“The first task is to extract maximum gas from our own gas field, and it is possible. Petrobangla has already taken a three-year plan. However, I have considerable doubts whether Petrobangla or BAPEX will be able to handle it properly. However, in any case, we need to increase gas production. The second task is to undertake on-shore and offshore energy exploration. Although it is time consuming, it will take at least five to seven years but it will be very important for the future. It was asked to do but not done in 2009-2010. If we could have done gas extraction then, we would not be in this crisis now. If we move away after hearing that it will take seven years, then we will be in more danger later. We need to make long-term plans immediately.
Thirdly, we need to be self-sufficient in energy. Although it will not be possible for us to be completely self-reliant, we must produce as much fuel as possible. This will reduce our risk of import price increase; supply and price will be in our hands as well. Keeping these advantages in mind, we should now look at our own coal production.
Lastly, our decision to build coal-fired power plants was the right one. It is because, if oil is $100 per barrel, then its equivalent LNG price will be $250 while the equivalent coal price is much lower. Therefore, the fact that we are still dependent on imported oil for electricity is our failure. The coal-fired power plant projects should have been done at least three years ago. Again, we are not able to raise even half of the production capacity of Payra power plant, but we are paying more than Tk 800 crore every month for capacity building and maintenance. On the other hand, it is expected that we will be able to get electricity from the Rampal power plant from next February. We will get at least 2600 MW of power by combining the two power plants. If we get this, the dependence on oil can be reduced immediately. Then, if Matarbari and other power plants are implemented by 2025, we can come out of import dependence. Hence, it should be ensured that these mega projects are implemented on time and projects and power transmission lines should be given top-priority.”
ENERGY SUPPLY AND DEMAND SITUATION IN BANGLADESH
Bangladesh’s energy supply is primarily reliant on its own gas sources. The main uses of this gas energy are to create electricity, heat homes, and power industrial processes. In 1990, the total primary energy supply was 12752 ktoe; in 2018, it increased by 41464 ktoe (IEA, 2020). According to data, natural gas makes up 55.50 percent of the primary energy supply, followed by biofuel and waste at 23.22 percent, imported oil at 15.69 percent, and coal at 5.31 percent both domestically and internationally according to IEA, 2020. It is now clear that Bangladesh’s reliance on domestic natural gas supply is growing.
Bangladesh’s economy is expanding, and with it the trend of rising energy consumption. According to further study, the nation’s total energy consumption was 12743 ktoe in 1990 and climbed to 38807 kilo ton of oil equivalent in 2018. From 10760 kilo ton of oil equivalent in 1990 to 33504 kilo ton of oil equivalent in 2018, energy generation has increased over time (IEA, 2020). It is obvious that over the course of the year, energy consumption exceeded energy output. In 2018, there was a difference of roughly 5300 kilo ton of oil equivalent. Importing oil and coal is typically used to make up for a scarcity of main energy sources.
The household, manufacturing, and business sectors accounted for the major portion of electricity usage in 2018. According to IEA, Electricity use was highest in the household sector (approximately 50%), next in the manufacturing (about 29%) and business (10%) sectors, respectively. According to the WB (2018), domestic gas produced 81 percent of all electricity, followed by oil at 16 percent, and coal and hydropower at 2 and 1 percent, respectively. It is exceedingly difficult for the power sector to be sustainably run in Bangladesh since there is a lack of diversity in energy generation.
ENERGY CRISIS IN BANGLADESH: AN UNAVOIDABLE SCENARIO
Even though Bangladesh has achieved great strides in power production and distribution, a number of variables continue to contribute to an energy crisis. Because of its booming industrial sector, Bangladesh has made remarkable economic progress over the past ten years thanks to increased power generation. However, the ongoing Ukraine War, the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, have severely affected the supply of gas and oil, all of which are crucial for Bangladesh’s ability to generate electricity. Gas is used to fuel over 60% of the nation’s power plants. The Power Development Board of Bangladesh reports that there are currently gas supply shortages at least 24 of the 152 operational power plants in the nation. When compared to the about 1,600mmcf demand, the gas supply to the power plants fell to 900mmcf.
Power plants are currently facing major energy shortages as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war raising energy costs on the international market. The spot market prices for LNG, Brent Crude oil, and thermal coal are over USD 40/MMBTU, USD 105/bbl, and USD 160/ tonne,respectively, according to published data. When shipping costs and other import-related costs are considered, the prices of primary fuel are incredibly high. The cost of home electricity is incompatible with such high primary energy prices. There were other key factors that contributed to this energy inefficiency.
TACKLING ENERGY CRISIS: INITIATIVES ADOPTED BY DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
To mitigate the on-going energy crisis countries around the world are implementing different policies and strategies. For example, in order to satisfy increased demand, China has instructed coal miners to raise output. Additionally, it enabled closed coal mines to start up again. In its fourteenth five-year plan, it has suggested constructing massive clean energy bases. China’s State Grid Corporation has made significant investments in hybrid multi-terminal high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines to connect areas with abundant and scarce power supplies.
The UK government plans to significantly enhance output of nuclear and renewable energy while also securing more oil and gas to reduce imports and bring down exorbitant prices. In April, the government unveiled its new Energy Security Strategy, including goals to generate 95% of the nation`s electricity from low-carbon sources by 2030. By introducing this new plan, the government would speed up the development of offshore wind farms by altering planning restrictions, with the objective of having them produce enough electricity by 2030 to power all households in the country.
Energy industry leaders are advising consumers and businesses to use less electricity, and France is putting together backup measures in case Russian gas imports are curtailed. If French gas customers’ annual demand exceeds 5 gigawatt hours, they would be the first group to face load-shedding (GWh). By September 2023, France plans to establish an offshore terminal to get LNG and that it would work to fill its gas storage facilities, which are presently 59 percent full, by early October. It also required a 10% reduction in energy consumption over a two-year period. According to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency “But, in my view, the biggest part of the response comes from putting emphasis on clean energy, renewables, energy efficiency and, in the countries where they have nuclear capacity, increasing nuclear production there” Germany is not only focusing on the supply side to reduce the shortages they are also emphasizing on the demand portion. They have prepared nationwide campaign plan to encourage the public and businesses to actively participate in energy saving program through behavioral change.
In order to address the situation, our neighboring country India has started reducing electricity supplies in various regions of different states. After a 6-year hiatus, the National Thermal Power Corporation is once more investing in Talcher, Odisha’s construction of a 1,320-megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant. Whereas Pakistan has reduced its official work week from six to five days as part of a campaign to conserve energy to use less energy and petroleum. The official gasoline allowance allocated to ministers and government officials has been reduced by 40% as part of the new conservation strategy.
HOW BANGLADESH IS ADDRESSING THE ENERGY CRISIS
Bangladesh has demonstrated a sensible and farsighted approach to its economic and industrial development during the past twelve years, which has allowed it to achieve growth miracles. The implications of the global energy crisis must be dealt with a same degree of caution and knowledge. Through her vision, bravery, and experience, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has successfully guided her country during every significant global crisis.Tackling the present energy crisis, the Prime Minister urged the government agencies and the people to exercise austerity to save energy and money. In the meantime, the government, by all means, is ensuring continual oil import and maintaining sufficient amount of oil reserve at least for the next six months to face the crisis.Besides ensuring the liquid fuel’s supply, the government also initiated scaling up the gas production of the local fields by approving two gas exploration and production boost projects which is expected to add additional 50 mmcf of gas from next year and 270 mmcf of gas by 2025.
The government has taken a wise decision to limit electricity consumption nationwide as part of a cautious and practical strategy to address the energy problem. To address a growing gas supply deficit for power plants in the midst of escalating prices, the Bangladeshi government has chosen load shedding. In addition to load shedding, the government has enacted several strict measures to rationalize Bangladesh’s demand-side usage of power. The measures to limit power use include prohibiting lighting at all sectors such as household, public and private offices, shopping malls; shortening office hours; using fewer air conditioners; and requesting that wedding celebrations end by 8 o’clock.
A WAY FORWARD: TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR BANGLADESH
Bangladesh has great potential for the use of renewable energy. However, several obstacles prevent the global growth of promising renewable energy technology. It is crucial to address these challenges before preparing a comprehensive plan to ensure energy efficiency.
Absence of clarity, stability and far-reaching strategic plan are acting as barriers in the energy sector. Majority of renewable energy technologies (RETs) strategies appear sporadic and struggle from a dearth of robust strategy, which are the reasons they fail to be incorporated into governmental planning.
Aside from that, RET-related measures lack a budgetary framework and legal support. Additionally, because RET execution is reliant on country’s budget, there are delays making decision and uncertainty around funding distribution. Development of renewable energy is hampered by a lack of policies that provide sufficient financial incentives.
One of the biggest obstacles in emerging nations like Bangladesh is the excessive initial cost of RETs. Moreover, investors are still hesitant to invest money here Bangladesh does not have adequate experience in producing huge amount of renewable energy. Additionally, due to higher risk and lengthy return period investors do not get encouraged to invest here. There is also lack of economic framework that facilitates the establishment of small-scale projects and reasonable terms for financing.
Standards and quality assurance for RETs are non-existent in Bangladesh. There is a severe deficit in terms of domestic RET production.
The availability of RETs in large quantities is severely constrained due to the small market for contemporary energy services based on renewable energy. Despite the availability of the proficiency, apprehension and resources, RETs do not exist in this country because of a lack of adequate technical assistance. Another major concern in this arena is lack of research and development that results in subpar policies and practices in terms of effectiveness, longevity and dependability. Even funding support to experiment performance, relocate technology and validation is lacking.
he main obstacle is a lack of knowledge about renewable energy among business, the general public, utilities, legislators, and financial institutions. Information about the origins of renewable energy and technology is not readily available or easily accessible.
Since Bangladesh lacks a centralized information hub, information about renewable energy is dispersed throughout numerous industries, including academics, research and development facilities, and the government sector. Additionally, relatively little is known about the potential, facilities, technology, and applications of renewable energy.
In order to create a suitable link between human resources and restricted financial resources and assure the usage of these technologies, RET, resources, and contemporary power services are managed various organizations, agencies, and departments of ministry. Making RETs functioning requires a protracted provisioning process and a challenging permissions process. The implementation of RET and project finance are unpredictable due to the lengthy decision-making process caused by reliance on the national budget. Because of an unequal regional distribution of RETs, there is restricted availability in executing these techniques.
One of the major obstacles in this energy sector is general public do not realize the benefits of using alternative sources of energy. Instead of utilizing renewable energy they often emphasize on using land to achieve the objective in both farming and household. Additionally, people have an attitude called “Not in my Backyard” where they don’t prefer to use alternative energy sources within their community as this might have an adverse effect on the aesthetic beauty of their society.
Environment poses a great challenge on our energy sector as well. It is challenging to integrate PV with the energy because of the prolonged rainy season. In addition, Bangladesh has a sizable coastal area, however due to changes in wind speed, it is not ideal for the development of wind farms.The large hydroelectric plants are no longer practical because of dams built in India and soil erosion To address these challenges and minimize the ongoing crisis regarding energy, Bangladesh should takethe following actions that will help them to achieve a sustainable solution. These steps must be divided into 3 three ways:
First there should be a vigorous legislative structure to enhance energy productivity as well as preservation plan. According to the “Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan (EE & CMP), the manufacturing, business and household sectors have the prospect to save energy of about 21%, 10%, and 28.8%, respectively. In order to attain this objective an effective and efficient administrative program should be implemented. Comprehensive plans, energy strategies and legislative model all should be integrated with EE and CMP. The model should identify combined heat and power which is also known as cogeneration, power investigate, energy-efficient appliances, frequent observation, evaluating the efficiency of EE and CMP and enhancing knowledge by educating, informing and communicating.
Secondly, energy audit needs to be frequently executed as part of the energy productivity and preservation plan. This will help to assess the feasibility of energy supply, energy utilization and program estimation. Auditors of energy must determine how efficiently energy is used in every network, activity, electrical instrument, etc. based on data to assess the options of energy preservation. The auditor must evaluate the present energy consumption of the different institutions and offer suggestions to implement well planned energy management plan that will significantly reduce energy waste. Frequent audits of energy in businesses and manufacturing plants could find inefficiencies in technology application and ramp up energy saving initiatives.
Thirdly, as part of the energy productivity and preservation plan, the government must create an energy culture by altering the perception and behavior of the citizens. This culture should be grounded on research, theory and statistics that is of highest significance. If the energy culture can be strengthened among the citizens by changing their perception and behavior, then a significant amount of energy crisis can be avoided. Exercising energy culture standards and measures in different institutions and by citizens should be integrated with the energy productivity and preservation plan.
Citizens of Bangladesh have learnt to pass days without a single second load shedding. However, we took advantage of this benefit like turning Rickshaws into motor driven vehicle where batteries need to be charged, turned on the lights, fans, A/Cs without necessity. It’s not only in person, but lots of factories have also practiced this odd way of enjoying this hard-earned facility by government. These behaviors need to be changed as soon as possible if we want to tackle this crisis.
Alternative Energy source
Fourthly, Given the limited supply of fossil fuels, Bangladesh must search for and develop alternate energy sources. In the following 8-13 years, domestic gas reserves will run out if no new stock is discovered. In order to stop the current pipeline power dissemination network from squandering gas in the manufacturing, trading, and household sectors, it is necessary to bolster onshore and offshore energy exploration. Moreover, there should be augmentation of the grid, application of net metering, and development of smart grid in transmission lines. According to PSMP Bangladesh has committed to produce 35 percent of its electricity from coal. The government should finalize a comprehensive coal strategy by defeating regulatory obstacles and environmental concerns.
Fifthly, there should be regional collaboration to guarantee energy security. Bangladesh is affiliated with SAARC together with other South Asian nations. To ensure meteoric economic development for energy market in South Asia, number of zonal and zonal collaboration were introduced such as The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Bangladesh, Myanmar, India (BMI), Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar (BIMSTEC) and Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar-Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). Bangladesh must concentrate on transborder energy financing, energy dealings, technology transfer and proficiency. This cross-border collaboration will increase the amount of FDI that will foster cost effective use of energy, access to local market, multi-sided energy framework and new funding prospects.
Green Financial Tools
Sixthly, carbon trading, credit and green bonds can be a viable option to raise funds for green energy projects (GEP). The dearth of long-standing funding, the existence of multiple hazards in the market, the poor return on investment, and the inability of market actors are the main obstacles for developing GEP in Bangladesh.
The preferable option for reducing the obstacles would be to create partnership-based savings to ensure increased return on investment. Government can develop green credit policy to reduce credit risk and handle green financing risks through monetary and regulatory de-risking. Meanwhile, the popularity of bonds has increased, and they could be a useful financial tool for developing RETs. The income from the bonds, commonly referred to as “green bonds,” will be used specifically to fund or refund new and ongoing projects in full or in part. It is widely used to gather funds to invest in GEP. It is suggested that this kind of financial instrument be used routinely in emerging nations.
Seventhly, Bangladesh should be seeking for renewable energy which must be long term plan for them. This source of energy is regarded as a costly one and intense effort is needed to make it a feasible alternative. Bangladesh has addressed the potential of renewable energy and thus set a target to generate 15% of energy from this source. But currently Bangladesh’s situation in this renewable energy sector is insignificant. Thus, government should look for following options
SOLAR ENERGY: Bangladesh’s favorable geographic location makes solar energy an essential source of renewable energy. While global capabilities increased significantly, Bangladesh’s enormous potential for utility-scale solar energy has yet to be explored. Numerous researchers have determined that a shortage of land is the biggest obstacle to the use of solar energy in Bangladesh. Several academics suggested solar plants may be built using ponds, lakes, or rooftop solar panels. The riverbanks, islands, and canals were also mentioned by the researchers as possible solar sites. Kaptai Lake in Chittagong has a surface area of 750 km2 that can be exploited for solar energy. According to reports, Kaptai Lake can produce approximately 500 MWp of solar power with just 1% of its water surface utilized. Installing solar PV on the roofs of residential and business buildings can help reduce the demand for electricity. Utilizing solar energy, or solar charging, would be a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels in the transportation sector.
HYDRO POWER: Hydro power can be a possible answer to the energy crisis for a nation like Bangladesh. To utilize this largely untouched sector, several micro- and pico-hydro might be inserted. By deploying it from the drains and homes, pico and mini-hydro electricity for Bangladesh might be able to overcome this barrier. The precise timing of water flow may be tracked using IoT to schedule loads. The flow rate using IoT-based hydro units can be precicely observed. The data from here will be gathered in the central hub. This will help to anticipate the output of power.
WIND ENERGY: Bangladesh’s coastal regions have significant wind energy prospect. It has been predicted that areas like Hatia, Swandip, Kutubdia etc. are excellent locations for capturing wind energy after considering multiple wind speed surveys. But utilizing this wind energy is a complicated task. Complex equipment like sensors, integrated strain gauges, actuators, monitors are needed. Because the infrastructure is currently unsuitable for this kind of installation, it may be a major issue for a country like Bangladesh. However, internet of Things (IoT) can play a crucial role to incorporate wind with the energy mix of Bangladesh. Gathering information from environmental authorities and anticipating the results are two ways to combat the unpredictable nature of wind-generated energy. Smart distributed substations may gather data, and they can operate sophisticated components like alternators, electronic controllers, and cooling systems remotely. Control central can be established that will gather information from wind turbines to identify uneven trends in the serviceability of the parts and equipment, allowing engineers to tackle potential issues early on and reduce the need for direct human intervention.
BIOMASS ENERGY: Compared to other energy sources, biomass contains a significant quantity of primary energy. Bangladesh has access to a variety of biomass energy sources, including municipal solid waste, animal and human waste, agricultural waste, and forest residue. In addition to being used for heating, biomass is also employed in industry to produce power and steam. The agricultural crops in Bangladesh produce a lot of residues. Such leftovers provide a significant amount of bioenergy for use in both industrial and agricultural applications. Bangladesh has a great opportunity to use animal waste to create bioenergy like biogas. Cattle, goats, sheep, and buffaloes are the animals that produce animal manure. Nearly 186,000 tons/day of animal manure is available from 24.48 million cattle and buffalo. One kg of manure can generate about 0.037 m3 of biogas. As a result, the available dung can produce 2.5 billion m3 of gas each day, which is equal to 2.56 million tons of coal or 1.28 million tons of kerosene. The more biomass resource is available the more electricity can be produced. That is why there should more research work to explore further opportunities in the area. Government should provide financial investment and create a rigorous a policy so that biomass energy can used a one of our key energy sources.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: The thermal energy produced and stored within the earth’s surface is also referred to as geothermal energy. The environment friendliness and economic viability of this energy are its most significant aspects. In Bangladesh, there are extremely few thermal gradient locations where geothermal energy is stored. It takes in-depth expertise to evaluate geothermal energy. In order to appropriately utilize the resources, both the public and private sectors should step forward and appraise the potential of geothermal energy. Northern zone of Bangladesh exhibits great prospects to discover its geothermal resources.. Geothermal energy technology would be a suitable attempt to address the steadily rising need for electricity in both urban and rural areas.
In Bangladesh, general people and the industry owners have been experiencing load-shedding all over the
country. Apart from the ongoing global crisis triggered by Ukraine-Russia conflict, what are the reasons behind the electricity problem in the country?
We have noticed that many positive steps of the government stumbled before due to the inefficiency of some people. In this context, I would like to define inefficiency as having lack of forethought, lack of will, lack of exact knowledge, corrupt tendencies and above all wrong point of view. One of my teachers once said with the pool of talent this country contains, Sonar Bangla can easily be made if they want. They just need proper supervision and accountability. And there is also a need for reliable alternative power system and its proper implementation.
What can be a possible way-out from the electricity crisis in country?
In my opinion, solar power can be an alternative permanent solution in this case. Solar electricity is being used at all levels in many developed countries of the world, from home to industry. In our country, we also started installing and generating solar power on a large scale about two decades ago. This initiative was well received nationwide. It has an acceptance among people from all classes. The government also came forward with considerable sincerity in this regard, and we were getting the results.
The country came under 100% electrification due to this solar energy. The huge demand for oil, especially in the field of agriculture, can be covered by solar pump based water pumping. We have seen that, not only in the remote areas, but also in the capital; due to lack of electricity at night, even if a road is covered in darkness, the area with solar street light remained illuminated. That means it is a tested, proven power generation system that is self-sufficient, also, it has no dependencies.
Despite the potential of solar power, why is it not being used?
As I said earlier, not paying attention and ignorance! What more electricity can be produced from solar? Will it be sustainable? Solar is of no use! etc. Due to the presence of these negative mentalities in some officials, it cannot be utilised properly. Speaking from my practical experience, solar is not something that can be measured with a measuring tape. Ironically, many respectable inspectors of the electricity department used to do so. Rental solar systems were also sought so that they could be returned after investigation. Due to this, a large amount of solar in all the district cities including the capital has become useless and neglected. According to me, this amount is not less than 3,000 megawatts, with which it is possible to light the common lights of every building throughout the night. The electricity department can specify the correct calculation.
To prevent this disaster, do you think the general public can play a role alongside the government?
If we take care of what we have, we can still do something about the power shortage. And it can take form of a social initiative. How? Everyone is pretty much a power user. So if we can officially tell the general public that at least two lights in your house should be solar powered, then the electricity bill will be reduced greatly, along with saving money. Whether you have electricity or not, your home will be lit.
Household work, children’s study will continue. Again, the dissatisfaction due to load shedding will also go away. Once solar power is installed, it runs for 20 years without any bills. What else can possibly assure more than this? If the government only ensures accountability, the rest will be done automatically. And whoever is in charge of the work, that work should be done in the best way with an absorbed mind.
Finally, for a nation like Bangladesh that needs energy, the topic of nuclear power cannot be avoided. From an economic perspective, nuclear power is appealing over the long period of time. Funding, safety, security, proliferation, disposal of waste, and expertise are among the difficulties associated with implementing nuclear power in underdeveloped nations. The first plant being built at the Ruppur site will produce 10% of the nation’s total electricity production which is 1,200 MW of electricity by 2023 and by 2024 further 1,200 MW will be generated. However, more electricity needs to be produced using nuclear technology depending on the current demand. More units at Ruppur should be constructed that will be financially lucrative. To produce more electricity using nuclear energy, additional viable sites in the South of the nation such as Khulna, Patuakhali etc. must be chosen.
To wrap up, our modern way of life has become heavily dependent on fossil fuel energies. But, we have to remember that there is insufficiency and scarcity of fossil fuel energy in the world. Along with it, there are wars, natural disasters as well as some political and economic reasons due to which there is a crisis of energy emerged in recent times. So, we can see various unrest in civil life due to energy shortage in Bangladesh as well as other countries in the world.
Governments of many countries have been applying different measures to reduce this instability including austerity measures, use of force, increase of price and production, etc. To fight the on-going global energy crisis, our visionary leader Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already implemented strict measures in the country. In addition to these measures, in the long run small and medium-sized renewable energy producing systems would be a cost-effective and long-term solution to Bangladesh’s energy dilemma in both urban and rural areas. Apart from this, we need to understand that an effective solution does not only depend on government. Citizens of the country should also come forward together to fight this energy crisis. According to Energy Specialist and BUET’s Professor Dr Muhammad Tamim:
“The outrage by the people is mainly because we got used to seven, eight years of uninterrupted power supply. But what’s not being realized here is that the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict resulted in very high energy prices.”
. To fight the on-going global energy crisis, our visionary leader Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already implemented strict measures in the country. In addition to these measures, in the long run small and medium-sized renewable energy producing systems would be a cost-effective and long-term solution to Bangladesh’s energy dilemma in both urban and rural areas. Apart from this, we need to understand that an effective solution does not only depend on government. Citizens of the country should also come forward together to fight this energy crisis. According to Energy Specialist and BUET’s Professor Dr Muhammad Tamim: “The outrage by the people is mainly because we got used to seven, eight years of uninterrupted power supply. But what’s not being realized here is that the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict resulted in very high energy prices.” It is hoped by many that the current energy deficit will be filled soon under the able leadership of the incumbent Bangladesh government. And that’s why, in this turbulent time of the world, we need to be united according to the directives by our leaders, as well as to prevent wastage of energy, search for alternative renewable energy for a better future and obviously for securing the future of our next generation.