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Dhaka Tribune

Growth in power plants must be sustainable

Update : 13 Nov 2013, 06:56 PM

Bangladesh’s power generation capacity now exceeds 10,000 megawatts of electricity. This is more than double the output when the government came to power.

The PM’s announcement this week that 33 more plants are now under construction is a welcome example of a manifesto pledge being met. Development and economic growth badly require more capacity to end the curse of load shedding.

However, while this increased generation is welcome, we need to improve planning and co-ordination to sustainably secure future capacity.

The proportion of current demand met by costly rental power plants is still too high and some power plants are outdated and not always able to run at full capacity.

With our national gas reserves rapidly reducing, dependence is growing on coal and oil which cause higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions and, in the case of oil, is also more expensive.

As the debates over the ill-conceived Rampal coal plant in the Sundarbans and the proposed Russian-built nuclear power station at Rooppur show, there is no simple answer to the question of meeting the country’s future energy demand.

We need to pursue a mix of approaches. It is clearly very important to think long term and encourage diversification via renewable initiatives in solar and bio-gas.

The government should also not ignore the amount of energy that is lost in transmission networks or wasted by consumers; improving energy efficiency is a vital part of the mix as it can increase energy security by reducing the need to build as many power plants.  

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