Two Danish renewable energy investor and developers have submitted a proposal to Bangladesh government for the development of a commercial-scale offshore wind energy project off the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
In accordance with the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, renowned Danish leaders in the renewable energy sector have proposed a $1.3 billion utility-scale offshore wind project. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) have unveiled a game-changing investment proposal for Bangladesh’s renewable energy landscape. The initiative seeks to capitalize on the country’s coastal resources and expedite Bangladesh’s transition into a sustainable and environmentally conscious nation.
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The proposed offshore wind project, with an initial capacity of 500 MW, constitutes Bangladesh’s largest wind energy investment proposal ever. This ambitious partnership involves the prominent South Asian infrastructure operator and developer Summit Group, a local conglomerate. Bangladesh aims to lessen its reliance on fossil fuels, combat climate change, and pave the way for a cleaner, more prosperous future by leveraging Denmark’s expertise in wind energy development.
“We have done a pre-feasibility study and are now seeking in-principle approval from BPDB to allow us to initiate the feasibility study, which is costly for an offshore wind project development. It entails wind measurements, environmental impact assessment and ground condition surveys,” said René von Bülow, director of New Markets at COP.
According to its official data, CIP has raised $19 billion from over 120 international institutional investors.
The Danish ambassador to Bangladesh, Winnie Estrup Petersen, is meeting with the president and prime minister of Bangladesh on July 13 and July 19, respectively, to discuss the proposal, said embassy sources.
Bangladesh’s urgent need for green energy transformation
The proposal arrives at an essential moment, as Bangladesh faces the dual challenge of climate change impacts and skyrocketing fossil fuel prices. The World Bank warns that Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, would experience a staggering 9% annual decline in GDP by the middle of the century. To mitigate these risks and ensure sustainable growth, Bangladesh needs to rapidly implement cleaner, more efficient technologies and adapt to climate change. The offshore wind project is perfectly in line with the nation’s ambitious 2041 objectives of achieving high-income status and eradicating absolute poverty.
Bangladesh seeks to reduce its reliance on expensive and unstable energy sources as inflation-driven price increases render fossil fuel imports increasingly unsustainable. By adopting renewable energy, specifically offshore wind power, the nation can diversify its energy balance and enhance energy security.
Unlocking the potential of offshore wind energy
Bangladesh intends to tap into the vast potential of its coastal resources by leveraging Denmark’s demonstrated expertise in wind energy. The proposed offshore wind project offers Bangladesh a one-of-a-kind opportunity to diversify its energy balance and maximize the use of its coastal areas. This initiative is perfectly aligned with the growth of the country’s blue economy, exemplifying a holistic approach that integrates renewable energy generation with sustainable resource management.
The offshore wind project guarantees numerous benefits for Bangladesh’s renewable energy sector and economy if implemented:
Offshore wind power has a significant advantage in terms of cost. With an estimated generation cost of $0.075 per kilowatt-hour, offshore wind power proves to be a highly competitive alternative to coal, LNG, and oil-fired power plants.
The construction phase of the project is expected to generate hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, providing employment opportunities for local communities. Moreover, the operational phase of the project is anticipated to create dozens of permanent positions over its 30-year lifespan.
Technology transfer and industry development:
As the first project of its kind in Bangladesh, and possibly in South Asia, the offshore wind initiative offers valuable technology transfer opportunities. It will accelerate the learning curve for the nascent offshore wind industry in the country, paving the way for future projects and reducing barriers to entry.
Bangladesh’s renewable energy landscape and future outlook
As outlined in the 2016 Power Sector Master Plan, Bangladesh has set ambitious renewable energy goals. The government intends to produce 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 40% by 2041. However, the nation’s current renewable energy production capacity is only 4.34 percent, with solar energy as the main source. Wind energy is underutilized, including the recently operational 60 MW wind power facility in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh has turned to offshore wind power as a viable alternative to solar energy development in order to circumvent land constraints. Together with the Italian firm Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano (CESI) and other collaborators, the government has begun preliminary and comprehensive feasibility studies for offshore wind projects in the Bay of Bengal. In addition, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) is collaborating with the World Bank to assess the wind resource at four sites across the nation.
To conclude, the proposed $1.3 billion offshore wind project in Bangladesh, a collaboration between CIP, COP, and Summit Group, is a significant step towards a sustainable future. It aims to diversify energy sources, reduce emissions, and decrease reliance on costly fossil fuels. This landmark initiative has the potential to drive the green transition in Bangladesh and inspire other countries in the region, creating opportunities for renewable energy development, job creation, and sustainable growth, paving the way for a greener and more prosperous future.