Green power key to sustainable growth Speakers say at MCCI discussion

Business Report

The government should take immediate policy measures to increase power generation from renewable energy sources with a view to ensuring sustainable economic growth, experts said yesterday.

“We should design a business model immediately to increase the renewable energy-based power generation for sustainable GDP growth,” said Munawar Misbah Moin, managing director of Rahimafrooz.

He was addressing a “High-Level Dialogue on Green Growth” at the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI). The chamber and Adam Smith International jointly organised the event.

The government plans to produce 25,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020, of which 2,500MW will come from renewable energy sources.

As per the plan, the country should have generated 10 percent power from renewable energy sources against the current installed power generation capacity of 16,000MW, said Moin.

But the government is generating about 500MW from renewable energy sources, he said, adding, “This is inadequate.”

He questioned how the country would reach its target of producing power from renewable energy within two and a half years without taking effective measures.

The entrepreneur suggested that the government allocate Tk 10,000 crore annually to achieve the goal.

He said there are 14 lakh diesel-based irrigation pumps in the country and the government gives about Tk 900 crore to them in subsidies every year.

The government also plans to set up 4 lakh solar-based irrigation pumps to reduce the burden on the national power grid.

So, Moin suggested that the government spend half of the subsidy set aside for the diesel-based pumps in a particular year and reallocate the funds to execute the plan on the solar-based ones.

Nihad Kabir, president of the MCCI, said Bangladesh faces several challenges such as air and water pollution, the loss of forest land, the unsustainable use of fishery resources, and the damage of ecosystems.

She said as per the Environmental Performance Index 2018, Bangladesh was ranked 179th out of 180 countries.

“There is no option but to reinforce our commitment in the areas of cleaning up the air quality, protecting biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

According to Nihad, among the various national policy papers that address green growth are the 6th Five-Year Plan, the 7th Plan (2016-2020), and the Perspective Plan Bangladesh (2010-2021).

“The hardest part of achieving any long-term target is to manage the different priorities during the development period and keep the increments in development increasingly progressive in nature.”

Masrur Reaz, programme manager of the International Finance Corporation, said the groundwater level dips between one metre and two metres every year because of the use of a huge amount of it to keep up industrial production. “The private and public sectors should implement water-efficiency programmes to prevent the depletion of the underground water,” he said.

According to Reaz, Bangladesh will lose 1.4 percent of the gross domestic product growth every year between 2021 and 2041 if climate change mitigation measures were not implemented properly.

Suvojit Chattopadhyay, country manager of Adam Smith International, Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change

and Development, Md Fazlul Huq, managing director of Plummy Fashions, and Mohammed Nasir, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, also spoke.