Energy Master Plan lacks clear direction for alternative energy sources

24 December 2022

There has been a growing call for the government to revise its draft Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan for its highly ambitious and unrealistic features. The Centre for Policy Dialogue on Thursday called the master plan faulty in an evaluation for promoting fossil fuel and neglecting renewable energy in pursuit of highly ambitious economic growth. Experts opined that the master plan might not be helpful in the long run. It is just reminiscent of the 2016 Power Sector Master Plan prepared by the JICA, which planned to set up 18 coal-based power plants worth about 15,000MW. The plan pushes for establishing dirty fuels such as coal when the rest of the world is moving away from it.
The draft master plan developed three scenarios predicting energy requirements up to 2050. The main scenario pursuing a per capita income of over $12,500 by 2041 came up with a massive energy demand. Bangladesh's per capita income at the end of the previous financial year was $2,824. Setting such a highly ambitious goal for developing a technical document is flawed. Ever since the incumbent government assumed power in 2009, the installed power capacity increased by over five times to 25,826MW from 4,942MW. The CPD said that the electricity demand during winter is 12,350MW but the country could generate 10,250MW on average in November. The highest power generated so far was 14,782MW on April 16, 2022. By 2030, the IEPMP predicted the power demand to stand at 29,257 MW. The CPD said that the electricity demand needed to be increased by about 200 per cent in just eight years.
The master plan also prioritizes coal and undermines renewable energy potential with its high energy demand forecast. For a sustainable future, when Bangladesh is emphasizing green energy sources, the Master plan is itself self-distorting and lacks clear direction for alternative energy sources. In this context, amending the planning or a completely new energy plan will guide the country's future energy solution.

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