18th July 2021

Appropriate fuel mix must be adopted for ensuring sustainable power supply to all at affordable cost. Bangladeshi home grown experienced energy and power sector professionals must be tasked for formulating the comprehensive power and energy master plan. While formulating the master plan it must be born in mind that world cannot completely eliminate using fossil fuel in near future and not even by 2050. The master plan must be realistic and not prepared on the basis of emotions. An implementable road map must also be included in the master plan for regular monitoring achievements.


The above observations and suggestions were put forward in Digital Webinar “Power-Energy Integrated Master Plan” organized by M2K EP Talks on Saturday, July 17, 2021. EP Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain moderated the webinar. Abul Kalam Azad, special envoy of the Presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum of UN was the chief guest. Former Chairman Petrobangla and BPC Muqtadir Ali, former Chairman BPDB Engr. Alomgir Kabir, former Member BERC Abdul Aziz Khan, President International Business Forum and CEO Energypac Humayun Rashid, Energy and Mining Expert Dr. Mushfiqur Rahman and International Energy Consultant Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque from Melbourne Australia participated as panelist in the discussion.


Referring to a report of World Energy Council Abul Kalam Azad informed that, 79% power was generated from fossil fuels in 2010. For efficient use of fuel and energy fossil fuels in 2050 would continue contributing more than 50% of above.  Even by that time in lower growth case fossil fuel would contribute 59% and higher growth case 79%. Hence the challenge during this period would be environment protection, energy security and equity of supply.


He said that past master plans were also integrated. Those were formulated in consideration of prevailing realities at that time. Though separate master plans were prepared in 2010 and 2016 for power and gas. But during preparation power and energy sectors talked and coordinated among them for preparing separate master plans. Now initiative has been taken to prepare an integrated master plan. In my opinion local experts must be given priority role during its formulation.


Azad thought deeper considerations should have been given before cancelling 10 imported coal based power plants. World community would not gain or lose anything even if Bangladesh reduces it carbon footprint to zero. The carbon footprint of Bangladesh is only 0.6 tonne while that of USA is as high as 16 tonnes. We should have mined our own coal and utilize.


We could not achieve noticeable progress in the development of renewable energy. Alongside of solar we must consider developing wind energy specially offshore wind. Alongside developing LNG import infrastructure we must expedite exploration of own petroleum resources. We must continue our efforts for expanding cross border energy trading. Accessing to hydropower prospects of Nepal and Bhutan would enhance green energy use. We must also seriously start working on Hydrogen Energy Development.


Muqtadir Ali observed that lack of coordination among the stakeholders is the main problem. Plans cannot be properly implemented for this. Most of the projects perceived in the plans cannot be implemented on time. Hence the achievements of plans become questionable. He agreed that Master Plan should be prepared by local experts.


Humayun Rashid, CEO Energypac pointed out the existence of various uncertainties in the power and the energy sectors. There is no option to ensuring safe, quality and uninterrupted power for industrial development and economic growth. He said that private sector must also be included in the formulation of integrated power and energy master plan. It will assist in industrial growth and job opportunities.


Engr. ASM Alamgir Kabir, former Chairman of BPDB suggested for engaging local experts for formulating master plan rather than relying on foreign consultants. If necessary for credibility of formulated document it may be vetted by accredited consultants. Regarding over capacity at generation he said, demand did not grow as projected during planning. Failure in sending the rental and quick rental plants on retirement as planned is another reason. Higher spinning reserve is another reason for increased generation cost due to payment of capacity charge for idle plants. Under no circumstance spinning reserve should exceed 25%.


Abdul Aziz Khan, Former Member BERC said, all knows where Bangladesh aspires to reach in 2041. Integrated Power Energy master plan must be prepared crafting it to achieving that national vision. Fuel mix is almost ready. Solar must be given priority this time. We can not wait for our own gas. LNG import is essential for power generation. But exploration for own gas must also proceed side by side. But I am not much optimistic about it. But there must a reservoir study done as soon as possible to assess possible future gas availability. That will assist in better preparing integrated master plan.


Dr. Mushfiqur Rahman, Energy and Mining expert suggested for preparing background papers before preparing integrated master plan. Setting specific goal and charting road map for reaching goal would be easier if background papers are ready at hand. Integrated Master Plan must be a brief policy document. We must set limits of quality, affordability and energy efficiency in the Master Plan.


He thought that failure of exploiting our own coal was definitely from lack of care. For us it was a luxury. Presence of aquifer is not an issue, rather land is a problem. We must care the opinion of real experts avoiding populous opinion and uneducated debates.


Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque connecting from Melbourne said, every master plan included a policy vision. PSMP 2010 and PSMP2016 also had such vision. But failure to follow these during implementation created issues in adoption of appropriate fuel mix. In future plan due priorities must be given to economic exploitation of own primary fuel resources and an implantable road map for PSMP must also be in place. PSMP is a dynamic document. Evolving technologies like Hydrogen Energy must also be seriously taken into consideration as future fuel he suggested.

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