The US ambassador in Dhaka has advised energy-starved Bangladesh to vigorously explore the hydro-power options to meet demands.
Dan Mozena was interacting with journalists on Wednesday after launching the global initiative ‘Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Investor Forum’ in Dhaka on Wednesday.
He made the comment based on the hydro-power potentials in India’s seven north-eastern states, Nepal and Bhutan.
“Bangladesh is located in a region blessed with energy potentials,” he said.
There was “unfathomable potential of hydropower” in this region, he said, citing 13,000 MW potential in Bhutan, and more than 70,000 MW in Nepal.
“This is cost-effective and I would encourage Bangladesh to explore dynamically these options because its pretty good power,” Mozena said.
He also suggested exploring “both on-shore and off-shore for gas and possible other sources of energy”.
“…that’s also very cost effective source of power.”
The “sustainable energy for all” is an initiative that began two years ago at the ‘Rio +20 Conference’ on sustainable development.
The initiative globally promotes universal access to electricity by 2030, doubling the rate of energy efficiency, and raising two fold the share of renewable energy in the energy mix.
Bangladesh has also plans to generate 39,000 MW power by 2030, almost half of which would come from coal.
According to the plan, nuclear power would contribute more than one-tenth of the production by 2030 while oil, hydro and renewable power would account for only 2,700 MW.
Speaking at the Dhaka launch of the first ever Sustainable Energy for All investor Forum, the US ambassador said Bangladesh would need to overcome great challenges to become an economic tiger.
“One of these challenges is energy… rather lack of sufficient energy… and that is where this SE4ALL Investor Forum comes in.”
Mozena said this forum was “not yet another talk shop of high-sounding chatter.
“Rather, this Forum is about doing something, effecting great change, specifically addressing meaningfully Bangladesh’s energy challenge.”
SE4ALL launched in New York in June this year.
Its Chief Operating Officer Mohinder Gulati said it was not a financing organisation or a project-implementing organisation.
“It’s a global advocacy platform, a convening platform where we are trying to build partnership,” he said.
He said their aim was to bring the government, private sector, civil society, financial sector, and industry together for future investment and thinking on the energy sector policy and strategy to achieve the sustainable energy goals.
By sustainable energy, Gulati said, they meant the sector had to be technically feasible, financially viable and environmentally and socially responsible.
He said the forum would not set any targets for any country.
“It’s for each country to decide depending on their conditions, resources and capacity –what technology will be used and what field will be used that’s their decision.”
Bangladesh has set a target to attain 5 percent renewable energy by 2015 and 10 percent by 2021.
The CEO termed Bangladesh a “shining example” in creating capacity and business model of renewable energy and said “you are quoted everywhere in the world”.
He said the forum would be a “technology neutral one”, though he said nuclear would be “a difficult option” for a country like Bangladesh.
“It is a choice of a country,” he said, “but nuclear is a difficult energy in terms of technology, technical ability and all the related risks that it has”.