In Bangladesh, annual per capita energy consumption is approximately 200 KgOE3, which is among the lowest in the world. Presently, 70% of the population does not have access to electricity in Bangladesh (GoB, 2004). The average system loss is 20.97% (GoB, 2006). The demand for power is estimated to increase 300 MW annually (GoB, 1996a). In contrast, concerns have been raised about the conventional energy production from fossil fuels that significantly contributes to environmental degradation at the local, regional and global levels. This situation calls for adoption of sustainable energy strategies that permeate every level of the economy and can provide rural dwellers with the services that they want and need.With this backdrop, Bangladesh has been experiencing a gradual shift towards exploring renewable energy resources as a means to fuel rural development in the off-grid areas. The country is endowed with abundant renewable energy resources. The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), with its mandate for sustainable rural development has embarked on a program for demonstration and transfer of renewable energy technologies in the off-grid rural areas. The project “Sustainable Rural Energy (SRE)‘ has been conceived within the overall framework of ‘Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP)’ with financial support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This project has already completed a number of renewable energy installations demonstrating diversified community applications of these technologies for livelihood and socio-economic improvement of the people living in the remote off-grid villages. The lessons learned from these demonstration plants reveal that, with careful forward planning, renewable energy can provide far-reaching economic and social benefits to people living in remote rural areas in Bangladesh. The private sectors and NGOs (Non-government organizations) have started to take part in the process of renewable energy development with great promise and enthusiasm. However, the process encounters policy, institutional and technological barriers, which are critical for continued development in this sector.
Energy & Environment – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2007
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