Dhaka, Bangladesh
Energy security needed

Energy security needed

According to a projection of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Bangladesh’s power demand would not grow to the level estimated by the government by 2021. This news is indeed a cause for worry, especially considering the fact that Bangladesh plans to become a middle-income nation by that year. As the economy of the country continues to grow, the demand of energy will only increase as there is a strong correlation between energy consumption and economic growth. Power shortage is clearly harmful to a country’s economy and can pull down the GDP growth. The funds spent on import of power generators and their fuel is an enormous drain on the economy. Larger industries can afford power generators, but small/medium enterprise which are any nation’s primary growth engine, cannot. As a developing country, demand of energy supplies increases more rapidly than income growth; therefore, economic growth could be affected adversely. Power shortages can also have serious social consequences. Energy accounts for an important part of the government expenditure, even more than health and family planning. Bangladesh must find a solution to take care of the country’s power requirements. Expensive import-based, oil-run power generation is not the long term answer. Gas-based projects are also not the answer as the country’s gas reserves are limited. Going nuclear is an option but it will take time. For a long time, another energy source, coal, in significant reserve, is lying unutilised. The country does not have long term energy security, but it could certainly get to better position in terms of energy supply, at present, if available resources are utilised properly. A possible home-grown, energy solution, based on wind and solar energy, can be used. Many countries in the world have implemented alternative energy programmes. Spain is already producing 73 per cent of its power needs from wind and solar energy. Unfortunately, Bangladesh has no long-term energy security policy. Considering the growth of energy demand and modest indigenous energy resource, Bangladesh may be forced to look for options to import gas and electricity. This is not unique to Bangladesh. The increasing trend of cross border gas and electricity trade among many nations in the world justifies such means. Of course recently, Bangladesh has done a good job with India for interconnection of electricity.

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