Cover:Gas to Woo Voters Mollah Amzad Hossain After a moratorium for 1,030 days, at last Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved residential gas connections. The industrial an... Read more
Greenpage:Green Banking Gets Warm Response: BB EP Report Local and foreign banks have spontaneously responded to the central bank’s efforts to make the country’s banking practices environment-friendly, a ... Read more
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Green Banking Gets Warm Response: BB
Local and foreign banks have spontaneously responded to the central bank’s efforts to make the country’s banking practices environment-friendly, a new report found.
Banks disbursed Tk 27,092 crore as green finance in 2012, said the central bank annual report on green banking practices in the country.
This is the first annual report on green banking prepared by the green banking and CSR department of Bangladesh Bank.
Khondkar Morshed Millat, deputy general manager of BB, and Md Zainul Abedin and Shamima Akhter, assistant directors, authored the report.
The authors said BB is the first central bank in the world to have a clear vision on promoting green banking and safeguarding the environment from unusual weather patterns, rising greenhouse gases, and declining air quality.
The central bank has proactively come forward to put in place a fund of Tk 200 crore to refinance lending for renewable energy generation and other environmentally beneficial projects such as effluent treatment plants and energy efficient kilns for brickfields.
As of December 2012, Tk 85 crore out the revolving fund has been allocated for different green projects in the areas of solar irrigation pumps, solar home systems, biogas plants, effluent treatment plants, brick kilns and solar photovoltaic module assembling plants.
It was only Tk 25 crore in 2011, said the report.
Banks are already required to report on their green banking activities on a quarterly basis. All scheduled banks have formulated their own green banking policy and formed green banking unit.
The report said the central bank has formulated Environmental Risk Management guidelines. The guidelines are for assessing environmental risks and do not intend to squeeze investment but ensure sustainable finance, according to the authors.
According to the report, BB Governor Atiur Rahman said green banking is not only limited to building awareness but also in practice and banks are responding spontaneously.
“I am convinced that with the level of enthusiastic commitment and engagement demonstrated by our financial sector, green banking initiatives in Bangladesh will keep attracting yet wider recognition and attention from outside our borders,” he said. Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury said Bangladesh is one of the most climate change vulnerable countries. As a result, the country does not have any other option but to adapt to a system that would play an important role in coping with the varying environmental scenario, he added.
“In this scenario, banks are required to protect their financing from the risks of a deteriorating environment and ensure sustainable banking practices,” he said. The report said banks started Environmental Risk Rating in July 2011. They conducted the risk rating in 12,088 projects in 2012 — three times from 2011 when 4,394 projects were rated.
The central bank also published the first-ever ranking of banks proactively lending to green projects.
The central bank also rated top ten banks on the basis of the environmental risk rating.
AB Bank topped the rating last year, followed by IFIC, Standard Chartered, Bank Asia, SIBL, BRAC, BASIC, Shahjalal, Exim, Jamuna, One and Dhaka Bank.
Private commercial banks accounted for 66 percent of all direct and indirect green financing in 2012, lending Tk 17,881 crore. State-run commercial banks and specialized banks however fared poorly, accounting for a meagre 2 percent and 3 percent.
In the ranking of green financing, EXIM Bank grabbed the pole position. Standard Chartered came second, followed by Rupali, BASIC, Islami, Citi NA, Bank Asia, Social Islami, City and Eastern Bank.
Banks allocated Tk 214 crore in 2012 as climate risk fund, which covers their part of corporate social responsibility activities.
Banks, the report said, however have not responded well in utilizing the fund, as they have spent only 12 percent of the total allocation.
IBBL, EXIM and HSBC are the top three banks that have together utilized 51 percent of the total climate risk fund.
PDB Conducts More Wind Mapping For Power Soon
The Power Development Board (PDB) has decided to conduct more wind mapping in the coastal zones, offshore and inland areas across the country, sources said.
The decision was taken by the Renewable Energy Division (RED) of the PDB to assess wind velocity and generate power.
The Board has already conducted wind mapping at several sites and it has also invited the US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Regen Power Limited (RPL) of India to do it at several sites.
The NREL and the RPL have identified mapping places at Inani Park in Cox's Bazar, Parky Beach in Anwara of Chittagong, Mohoridam in Feni and Mognama Ghat of Cox's Bazar.
They have installed masts to measure wind velocity at 50 metre height and the data collected for, at least, two years would be used to install wind mills in those places.
According to a source in the PDB's RED, Bangladesh's average wind velocity for per second is 4.5 metres and it varies at different sites and heights.
A source in the PDB said 50 to 200 megawatt (MW) of power could be generated from wind power in different offshore, coastal and inland sites.
Apart from four places in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong, the RI has also identified another four sites -- Parky Beach, Kuakata, Chilmari and Khepupara.
Md. Shafique Uddin, director of the RED of the PDB, said funds are available from the Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF) as well as from the government itself to finance wind mills in different places.
He said the PDB is aware of global warming and it has already installed wind mills in Kutubdia and Feni aiming to generate 1.0 MW of power from each project.
But two projects failed as the Kutubdia 1.0 MW (20kw capacity having 50 turbines) was hit hard by cyclone Aila and the Feni project (225kw capacity having four turbines) was closed due to inappropriate wind mapping, he said.
The PDB official said the government is going to restart the two projects and tender has already been floated. After their revival, the two projects would generate two MW of power.
Apart from the PDB, the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have conducted wind mapping in different parts of the country.
A US-based private renewable energy firm, Tailor Engineering Group LIC, has expressed its interest for wind mapping in Bashkhali and Cox's Bazar at their own costs.
Once they find the required velocity at the required heights, they will install wind turbines.
Siddique Zobair, senior advisor for Sustainable Energy Development Programme said the PDB has conducted wind mapping at 50 metre height but it needs to go for 80 to 100 metre height.
He said prospects of wind power are bright in Bangladesh and mapping studies above 50 metres would give the actual data for this primary energy.
He said the PDB's ongoing wind mapping in different sites would give the plant load factor data that will help to calculate tariff for each unit.
A renewable energy expert in the PDB said wind speed varies at different locations and different heights. Usually wind blows more in the coastal zones than at the offshore in the Bay, he added.
Wind at some inland locations is better than in coastlines due to geological factors, he pointed out while stating that good wind speed had been detected in Kurigram where wind turbines would be set up, after further study.
The PDB will conduct more wind mapping studies in the offshore of the Bay and it plans to generate a sizeable amount of good quality power from the Bay by installing wind turbines.
As the wind is in a continuous force to move turbines and it will never be exhausted, it is an opportunity for Bangladesh to generate power from this renewable source of energy, the sources said.
Currently worldwide, there are many thousands of wind turbines operating, with a total nameplate capacity of 250,351 MW at the end of the year, 2012.
The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) is supporting renewable energy in Bangladesh. So far, it has established 1.8 million solar home systems in the off-grid zones where people are not getting the grid power.
Solar Irrigation Pumps For North
About 22 solar irrigation pumps will be installed in the country’s northern and southern region under the private sector. According to official sources, Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) initiated a project under which private investors will set up the solar-run irrigation pumps, each having nearly 8 kilowatt capacity.
The Power Ministry designed the project as part of the government’s plan to increase the electricity generation from solar energy to 5 per cent of total power generation by 2015 from the present level of less than one per cent.
The IDCOL, a government financing agency founded with the help of donor agencies, was entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the project due to its long experience of successful implementation of the solar home system project.
The sources said that the government planned to install a total of 1,500 solar-powered irrigation pumps across the country to reduce its dependence on diesel-run irrigation pumps by 2016. The original plan is to install a total of 10,000 solar-irrigation pumps across the country to replace all the diesel-run pumps.
“The 22 solar-irrigation pumps are the first batch of the government’ s such initiative of which 2-3 has already been installed,” said Siddique Jubayer, a consultant of the Power Ministry on renewable energy affairs.
He informed that under the project, private sponsors will have 20 per cent equity investment while they will get 40 per cent grants and 40 per cent concessional loan at lower rate of interest to make the project viable.
‘We hope, the farmers will get water from next irrigation supply which will start from August-September,” he added.
The theme of the project is to supply waters to farmers at an affordable cost to replace their present system of getting water from diesel-run pumps.
Power Ministry officials said the capacity of solar irrigation pumps being used for irrigation purpose is in the range of 5-11 kW. Under the program, solar irrigation pumps with an average capacity of 8 kW will be installed which will operate at total head of 12-15 meter. The pump of this size is capable of lifting 500,000 liters of water per day in local solar irradiation condition. They said the IDCOL will select some NGOs, MFIs or private entities, known as partner organizations (POs), to implement the program on the basis of management capacity, financial strength and micro-finance experience.
The POs will be responsible for selection of areas and target customers. They will install the pumps and supply water to the customers.
The Power Ministry officials also said that the IDCOL will provide necessary technical, financial and promotional support to the POs for successful implementation of the program.
NGVs From World's Largest Auto Markets to Reach 7.5 Million in 2020
According to Lux Research, fuel price differentials, payback period for premium-priced NGVs and fueling infrastructure are the major drivers of growth and the world's seven largest automobile markets will be mainly benefit as the industry struggles to capitalize on shale-driven natural gas.
"Cheap natural gas is disrupting the electricity, chemical, and heating industries, but the impact on the transportation market has been minimal," said Andrew Soare, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, "Shale Takes on Automotive: The Future of Natural Gas Vehicles." He added: "Technical and economic challenges mean that's likely to remain true - even if fuel splits widen."
The report includes a market forecast model to predict NGV sales in the seven key auto markets that account for 75% of vehicles on the road today: the U.S., Europe, China, India, Brazil, Russia, and Japan.
India and China, the world's two most populous countries, are the fifth- and sixth-largest NGV markets, respectively, but NGV penetration is only around 1% in each. In 2015, the two nations will occupy the top two spots of the seven nations surveyed - China with sales of 540,000 and India with sales of 250,000. Source: Lux Research