Homeland Security

From Policy to Power: Shaping Bangladesh’s Renewable Energy Landscape
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 25 Apr , 2024

As Bangladesh continues to develop economically and its population grows (the most densely populated country already), there is an urgent need for a comprehensive energy policy that underscores on sustainability (SDGs 2030). Bangladesh’s current energy infrastructure must evolve to meet the demands of its people and economy while lessening environmental negative impact. Especially, Bangladesh is experiencing unavoidable challenges with pollution, ranking as one of the most polluted and contaminated countries worldwide. This increasingly high pollution rate contributes to serious health issues among the population and all fauna and flora. Addressing these environmental pressing problems through an updated energy policy is not only highly essential for economic growth but also indispensable for improving public health and preserving Bangladesh’s diverse ecosystems.

Globally, countries (both countries in the North and South) like Germany, Denmark, Kenya, and Vietnam provide shining and pragmatic examples of how to successfully transition to renewable energy. These countries have made substantial strides in dipping their carbon footprints through investments in three renewable power sectors: wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Let’s take China for example, China has made remarkable progress, with renewables making up 36% of its total power generation by 2022. In contrast, Bangladesh’s renewable energy contribution stands at just 4.1% of its total generation capacity. By adopting strategies and policies from some nations in the world, Bangladesh may accelerate its renewable energy initiatives and significantly expand its capacity in this vital sector though there are some sluggish strategies.

Owing to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in Bangladesh, several strategic measures and proven policies can be implemented. These include optimizing land use policies to streamline land acquisition and setting environmental safeguards to ensure cost-effectiveness and abate bureaucratic complexities (Red Tape). Enhancing financial mechanisms is crucial as well, drawing from Vietnam’s fruitful solar incentives and considering the establishment of green bonds or renewable energy funds for large-scale projects. Comprehensive regulatory structures might be modeled after Germany’s Energiewende, incorporating all aspects of renewable energy production to consumption to keep investor trust. Human capital might be heightened by emulating Kenya’s investment in particular educational initiatives and fostering academia-industry collaborations to mitigate skill shortages and hone skills. Highlighting infrastructural and technological advancements will accommodate an increased intake of renewable sources, with public-private partnerships key in introducing advanced technologies. Civic engagement and awareness initiatives, inspired by Denmark’s community wind farms, can potentially elevate public support for renewable projects. Source diversification is also vital, following Norway’s example to incorporate a variety of renewable energy sources. Off-grid solution incentives, similar to Indonesia’s approach, might extend energy accessibility to remote areas. Grid enhancement measures, based on Germany’s smart grid technologies, will address (at least, mitigate) the intermittency of renewable sources. Implementation of renewable energy quotas, akin to the UK’s binding carbon budgets, may foster growth in renewable energy sectors. Backing for research and development, mirroring South Korea’s investment in renewable technologies, will innovate and decrease overall costs. International collaborations, like those of India (neighboring country of Bangladesh) with the International Solar Alliance, should be sought for technical and financial support. Integrated policy deployment, following Denmark’s comprehensively effective policy, can synchronize renewable energy policies across all sectors. Urban planning and sustainability measures ought to incorporate renewable technologies into building codes and planning, similar to Singapore’s design. Implementation of carbon pricing frameworks, inspired by Sweden’s carbon tax system, can possibly incentivize emission cutbacks. Finally, promoting community-based ownership models, similar to Denmark’s community-owned projects, can empower general populations and distribute economic gains from renewable energy, securing local support and economic benefits.

Simultaneously, we should not forget the impact of battery. In order to decrease the environmental and health impacts of batteries used in renewable energy storage, Bangladesh ought to adopt a series of integrated policy measures. These include creating strict sustainable sourcing and manufacturing standards, similar to those in the European Union, and executing robust battery recycling programs as seen in South Korea. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies, similar to Japan’s approach, might be enforced, requiring battery manufacturers to manage the lifecycle of their products, with recycling and disposal. Moreover, highly promoting innovation in safer and more sustainable battery technologies, such as those supported by the U.S. through ARPA-E, will be essential and key. Enforcing rigorous regulations on battery disposal to thwart illegal dumping may follow models from Canada, while directing life cycle assessments for batteries can mirror Sweden’s environmental policies. Public cognizance campaigns, inspired by Germany’s successful recycling education efforts, and providing backings financially for green battery technologies, as done in China, will further cheer the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and technologies. Together, these mentioned policies will ensure the responsible use of batteries in Bangladesh’s renewable energy sector, enhancing both environmental sustainability and public health.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Md. Abdullah-Al -Mamun

is a researcher in public policy, IR, Human Rights, Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University.

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