Published at: The Financial Express, March 03, 2019
The World Bank has approved $185 million to add up to 310 Megawatt (MW) in renewable energy generation capacity in Bangladesh and mobilise private sector participation to meet the growing demand for electricity in the country, reports UNB.
The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project will increase installed capacity of renewables through piloting and expanding investments in key market segments.
It will build the first 50 MW phase of a large scale solar panel energy park in Feni district, which will be implemented by the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB), according to a press release received from Washington on Saturday.
Currently, the share of the total installed renewable energy in grid supply is only 1.5 per cent and has significant potential for scaling up.
The project will help provide better access to cleaner electricity as well as air by avoiding burning fossil fuels. It will help cut emissions by 377,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.
“Bangladesh is well on its way towards becoming an upper middle-income country with about 80 per cent of the population having access to grid electricity. It also has one of the most successful off-grid renewable energy programs in the world, providing electricity to another 10 per cent of the population,” said Dandan Chen, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“This project will help expand renewable energy generation capacity. By leveraging all sources of finance, the expanded renewable energy sector is ready to push the country’s growth trajectory further.”
The project will help mobilise up to $212million from the private sector, commercial banks and other sources of financing and establish a dedicated Renewable Energy Financing Facility to provide credit to developers of both rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) and large-scale renewables.
The project will support the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) with development of the Financing Facility and provide resources to the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) to build market capacity and develop a pipeline of renewable energy projects.
“The power sector in Bangladesh has grown rapidly with maximum generation capacity increased from a little over 4,000 MW in 2009 to more than 20,000 MW in 2018,” said Jari Vayrynen, World Bank Team Leader for the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project.
The $185million credit also includes a$26.38million loan and a$2.87million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) of the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIFs).