Bangladesh will build 100-200 megawatt wind power plants on the seashore

The government of Bangladesh will float international tender soon, inviting private sector entrepreneurs build 100-200 megawatt wind energy plants on the seashore, Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said Sunday.

He said the wind turbines plants might be built at Maheshkhali Island or Patenga in the energy-starved Chittagong to reap the maximum sea wind-flow.

Dr Chowdhury was speaking at a roundtable titled ‘Potentials of Wind Power: Vision 2021’ at CIRDAP Auditorium in the city as the chief guest.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) chairman Syed Yusuf Hossain was the special guest, while managing director of Pan Asia Power Services Ltd Fazlur Rahman presented the keynote paper.

Speaking on the occasion the energy adviser, who was a former energy secretary, also stressed the necessity for wind mapping across the country to woo the aspirant private sector entrepreneurs build wind farm plants.

"The meteorology department has already been asked to prepare the mapping of wind flows to spot potential locations for building more wind-based power plants," he said.

Spelling out the government’s future plan to increase output from renewable energy sources he said a separate entity styled ‘Sustainable Energy Development Authority’ would be constituted soon.

Besides, the government would set up solar photovoltaic panels on top of the state owned establishments. The country’s one of the main tourist spots – St Martin Island – would be developed as a green zone, he said.

He was also critical of the country’s ultimate dependency on natural gas for generating electricity. "We must not depend on natural gas only, as its reserve is gradually going down."

Admitting the power crisis as acute he said the demand for electricity increased by at least 2,000 MW due to higher consumption during the current irrigation season.

The government has agreed to undertake comprehensive wind mapping to assess the prospect of wind power in Bangladesh. Chowdhury said that by 2021 renewable energy needs could contribute one-third of the total power generated in Bangladesh.

The government’s meteorological department does currently map wind strength, but the results are misleading as the equipment used was installed 30 to 40 years ago, Md Fazlur Rahman, managing director of Pan Asia Power Services Ltd, and contractor of the Kutubdia 1 megawatt wind power plant told the roundtable.

Md Fazlur Rahman said that to determine whether wind power could be effective in Bangladesh, integrated wind mapping of the 740 km coastal belt in the South was necessary.

Rahman is a strong advocate of wind energy, arguing that the cost of producing power from this natural resource is just Tk 12 per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to Tk 25-30 for solar plants. He also pointed out that wind turbines don’t require much land and can be established in remote areas.

Tajmilur Rahamn, an official of the Germany-based lending agency KFW, told the roundtable that there should be a technical evaluation of the existing pilot projects in Feni and Kutubdia.

The newly-formed Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) is expected to start functioning in 3 to 4 months and will work to increase usage of renewable energy and to ensure greater energy efficiency.