Environment Counts | Renewable energy and rural electrification in Bangladesh
Author: Geoff Zeiss – Published At: 2011-12-26 23:00 – (787 Reads)
The Government of Bangladesh has adopted a goal of generating 5 percent of the country’s energy demand through green energy by 2015 and 10 per cent by 2020. In the last seven years, more than 10 lakh (1 million) rural homes in off-grid areas have got lights through solar home systems (SHS).
The government’s policy to promote renewable energy has attracted a large number of new entrants into the business, particularly for solar panel installations. In the last two years, nearly 100 firms and NGOs have appeared on the scene to sell technologies including solar home systems, irrigation pumps, water heaters, street lights and their accessories and batteries.
For buildings with grid access, the government requires that newly built buildings have to meet a portion of their electricity requirements through solar energy in order to get an electricity connection. The requirement for producing green energy is 3 percent and 7 percent of the total electricity demand in the residential and commercial buildings respectively.
In many rural areas of Bangladesh, people live too far from the main electrical grids to make connections reliable or affordable. Without access, these families are forced to rely on more expensiveâ€” and nonrenewableâ€”energy options such as kerosene or batteries. The Globle Environment Facility (GEF) is helping to speed the rural electrification process by working with the Government of Bangladesh, the World Bank, and Bangladeshâ€™s
Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) to increase the spread of off-grid, renewable energy technologies, such as solar home systems (SHS). The Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification project seeks to reduce barriers to the use of these climate friendly energy systems and grow the market for renewables. The project is building capacity through access to financing, business skills, training and technical skills, institutional capacity, and consumer awareness. Currently it is estimated that some 80,000 SHSs are installed each month.
The GEF project also has emissions reduction benefits. It has been estimated that the project is expected to displace nearly 260,000 tons of carbon dioxide over 15 years, primarily by reducing kerosene use.