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'Look toward green energy, build resilience'

  • Published at 12:27 am October 15th, 2018
solar
File photo of a solar panel installed in an apartment project in Uttara Syed Zakir Hossain

The program was held at Long beach Suites hotel in the capital yesterday, jointly organized by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Adam Smith International

Bangladesh needs more energy from the renewable energy sector to minimize and adapt to damagedone by climate change-induced natural disasters, experts said at a dialogue on ‘Building Resilience through Improved Access to Green Energy’.

The program was held at Long beach Suites hotel in the capital on Sunday, jointly organized by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Adam Smith International.

ICCCAD Director Dr Saleemul Haq in his opening remarks said:"Though climate change, more specifically disaster management andenergy are two different sectors, they are interlinked.We need to think of both sectors together in the light of building resilience to climate change, as we are among the most vulnerable."

Large scale renewable power plants are not feasible in Bangladesh due to land shortage, he said, and therefore the country should go for small solar, wind power and biogas plants.

"Such initiatives will keep our country more green and protect it from various natural calamities," Saleemul added.

A research paper was presented by Remeen Firoz, lead consultant, Economic Dialogue on Green Growth(EDGG), Dr Syed Mortuza A Ehsan, assistant professor of North South University and Salma Islam, senior research advisor at EDGG. 

The paper said thatfrom 1980 to 2008, the estimated damage to the country from climate change-induced natural disasters was $16 billion. Cyclone Sidr put 26 power plants out of operation. In 2008, strong winds of Cyclone Nargis damaged wind power plants in Kutubdia which took three months to restore. In 2009, Aila uprooted electric poles causing power outage in southwest costal Bangladesh. In 2017,power outage occurred in Cox’s Bazar due to 23 transformersbeing damagedby Cyclone Mora.

A total of 521.16 megawatts of electricity comes from renewable energy sector: 287.18MW from solar, 2.9MW from wind, 230MW from hydropower, 0.68MW from biogas and 0.4MW from biomass.

During a panel discussion at the event,panelist Dr Ijaz Hossain,chemical engineering professor from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said:"We should think about renewable energy because fossil fuel will be exhausted someday. But climate change hastens this need. Our renewable energy policy was made in 2008.We should update this policy."

He said: “Not much energyis obtained from solar, wind or biomass. But we have the opportunity.If we can setup 1,000 plants of a capacity of 1 or 2MW, it could be a large contribution to the power supply. We have thousands of poultry farms, so we can obtain power from biomass and biogas as well.”

Shashanka Saadi,head of emergency response and preparedness at Brac,said:"Resilience does not mean reduction of death or economic losses, it is more than that. We have to understand the livelihood of the local people, household patterns and means of production to make sense of what to do or not. Green energy is one of the ultimate forms of resilience."