Electricity sector in Bangladesh

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Electricity sector of Bangladesh
Electricity coverage95% (2018)
Installed capacity20000 MW
Residential consumption%
Share of government financing (2018)56%[1]
Share of private financing (2018)46%
Responsibility for policy-settingMinistry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Bangladesh Power Development Board
Electricity sector lawEnergy Regulatory Commission Act
Power plant in Bangladesh

The utility electricity sector in Bangladesh has one national grid with an installed capacity of 21,419 MW as of September 2019. The total installed capacity is 20,000 MW (combining solar power). Bangladesh's energy sector is booming. Recently Bangladesh started construction of the 2.4-gigawatt (GW) Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant expected to go into operation in 2023.[2] According to the Bangladesh Power Development Board in July 2018, 90 percent of the population had access to electricity. However per capita energy consumption in Bangladesh is considered low.[3]

Electricity is the major source of power for most of the country's economic activities. Bangladesh's total installed electricity generation capacity (including captive power) was 15,351 megawatts (MW) as of January 2017[4] and 20,000 megawatts in 2018.[5]

The largest energy consumers in Bangladesh are industries and the residential sector, followed by the commercial and agricultural sectors.[6]

As of 2015, 92% of the urban population and 67% of the rural population had access to electricity. An average of 77.9% of the population had access to electricity in Bangladesh.[7] Bangladesh will need an estimated 34,000 MW of power by 2030 to sustain its economic growth of over 7 percent.[8]

Problems in Bangladesh's electric power sector include high system losses, delays in completion of new plants, low plant efficiency, erratic power supply, electricity theft, blackouts, and shortages of funds for power plant maintenance. Overall, the country's generation plants have been unable to meet system demand over the past decade.

On 2 November 2014, electricity was restored after a day-long nationwide blackout. A transmission line from India had failed, which "led to a cascade of failures throughout the national power grid," and criticism of "old grid infrastructure and poor management." However, in a recent root-cause analysis report the investigating team has clarified that the fault was actually due to lack of coordination and poor health of transmission and distribution infrastructure that caused the blackout.[9][10]

Sources of energy[edit]

As of 2011, 79 natural gas wells were present in the 23 operational gas fields which produce over 2000 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD). It is well short of over 2500 MMCFD that is demanded, a number which is growing by around 7% each year. In fact, more than three-quarters of the nation's commercial energy demand is being met by natural gas. This influential sector caters for around 40% of the power plant feed-stock, 17% of industries, 15% captive power, 11% for domestic and household usage, another 11% for fertilizers, 5% in Compressed natural gas (CNG) activities and 1% for commercial and agricultural uses.

CNG is substituting more that US$0.8 billion worth of foreign exchange annually and is also used in most vehicles on the road. In addition to CNG, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also demanded at around 0.1 million tons. The nation furthermore demands 3.5 million tons of oil imports in addition to almost 2 million tons of diesel to feed oil-based power plants being planned and built all around the country. The additional petroleum and coal imports are causing a disruption in the GDP by as much as 2% annually. The new purchases are affecting improvement initiatives in other sectors causing reduced export earnings and curtailing employment opportunities. This massive failure in the energy sector is mostly attributed to prolonged negligence, inappropriate implementation, inefficiency and lack of planning. To make matters worse, natural gas reserves are expected to expire by 2020. The only coal mine of the country is in the development stage, the reserve of which is also expected to dry up anywhere from 75 to 80 years after the start of their operations.[11]

Efforts to develop an open-pit coal mine in Phulbari, Dinajpur District, have met with large, violent protests in 2006 because of feared environmental effects, and six people were killed and hundreds injured.[12] At the time, the government closed the project, for which it was working with Asia Energy (now Global Coal Resources). It was encouraged in December 2009 to re-open it by the United States ambassador in private communication.[13] In October 2010 protesters make a week-long march from Phulbari to Dhaka against the mine; a coalition of other groups protested at a Global Coal Resources meeting in London.[14]

Renewable energy[edit]

According to the Bangladesh's Power Sector Master Plan 2016 (PSMP–2016), the country has the potential to generate a combined 3.6 GW of electricity from renewable energy sources.[15] Another research has estimated that the potential from wind power alone stands at 20 GW.[15]

Bangladesh has 15 MW solar energy capacity through rural households and 1.9 MW wind power in Kutubdia and Feni.[16] The government of Bangladesh has approved the construction by private developers of 19 on-grid solar parks, with would have cumulative generation capacity of 1070 MW.[17]A solar power plant having a power generation capacity of 28 MW has recently started its operation in Teknaf of Cox's Bazar. Accounting this, the power generation capacity from renewable energy sources exceeds five percent of the country's total demand. Technical Solartech Energy Ltd (TSEL) has installed this power plant in Teknaf utilizing a total of 116 acres of land. Currently, the power plant is feeding 20MW to the national grid.[18]

Bangladesh has planned to produce 10% of total power generation by 2020 from renewable energy sources like wind, waste, and solar energy. The country plans to increase its renewable energy share to 17% by 2041 under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% until 2030.[6]

The country's prospect of geothermal energy extraction has also been discussed by researchers.[19] Studies carried out by geologists suggested geothermal resources in northwest and southeast region.[20][21]

Recent plans[edit]

The Ministry of Power and Energy has been mobilising BDT 400 billion ($5.88 billion) to generate 5,000 MW of electricity to reduce load shedding into a tolerable level within next four and half years during the term of the present government. Under the plan, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) would produce 500 MW gas-fired electricity between July and December 2009 to over come load shedding within December. The PDB would hire furnace-oil based 1,000 MW of electricity from private sector from January to June 2010, the plan said. In 2011, the government would install furnace-oil based 800 MW capacity of power plant.

The PDB officials would seek suitable place to establish the plant, a senior official of the PDB said. Besides the government would also hire another diesel- or furnace oil-based power plant having capacity of 700 MW in 2012 to keep load shedding into mild level, the official said. However, the government also contemplates to establish four coal-fired-based power plants with capacity of producing 500 MW of electricity each with public and private partnership (PPP) in Rajshahi and Chittagong region.

The government has initially tried to create fund of BDT 60 billion ($1 billion) to implement the plan, sources said. The power division has tried to use the government's budgetary allocation of BDT 20 billion for PPP in this regard, sources added. "If we can create the fund of BDT 60 billion, it would be possible also to mobilise BDT 400 billion under ppp to produce 5,000 MW of electricity within four and half years," PDB chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir told the New Nation on 29 June 2009. During the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina permitted the power division to implement the PDB plan to reduce load shedding up to a tolerable level. Prime Minister's Adviser for Power and Energy Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury Bir Bikram, State Minister for Power and Energy Shamsul Haque Tuku, Power Division Secretary Md Abul Kalam, PDB chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir were present.

Inefficiencies and infrastructure[edit]

Bangladesh has small reserves of oil and coal, but very large natural gas resources. Commercial energy consumption comes mostly from natural gas (around 66%), followed by oil, hydropower, and coal. Non-commercial energy sources, such as wood fuel, and crop residues, are estimated to account for over half of the country's energy consumption.

A 2014 news report stated that:

Bangladesh is considered one of the most arousing energy growth nations. More than a third of Bangladesh's 166 million people still have no access to electricity, while the country often is able to produce only some of its 11,500-megawatt generation capacity.[10]

In generating and distributing electricity, the failure to adequately manage the load leads to extensive load shedding which results in severe disruption in the industrial production and other economic activities. A recent survey reveals that power outages result in a loss of industrial output worth $1 billion a year which reduces the GDP growth by about half a percentage point in Bangladesh. A major hurdle in efficiently delivering power is caused by the inefficient distribution system. It is estimated that the total transmission and distribution losses in Bangladesh amount to one-third of the total generation, the value of which is equal to US$247 million per year.

In 2011, there were proposals to upgrade the grid technologies to digital smart metering systems and investing in renewable energy technologies to produce 5% of total power generation by 2015 & 10% by 2020, as noted in the National Renewable Energy Policy of 2008. American engineer Sanwar Sunny said that the city should put more effort in zoning areas to encourage more self-reliant subdivisions and higher density housing around subways to be more sustainable, as during peak times load shedding would not affect everyone. It will reduce effects of power cuts and provide stability to the power sector. He proposed that Radio transmitters could be operating remotely in unlicensed radio bands using two way real time communication and transmit coded instructions from the central to the circuit breakers in selected coordinates of the micro grids substations thereby maintain multiple power flow lines with automated control and digital metering. Using this technology, Feed-in tariffs (FIT) would also be possible, as the energy usage could be monitored remotely and private power generation and energy efficient entities could be offered rebates and incentives. "This will also expedite investments in this sector, create job opportunities for engineering graduates and technicians, and ease pressures on the government" he said. Think tanks such as Bangladesh Solar Energy Society and Renewable Energy Institute (REI), along with European International Development Government Agencies such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit supported this scheme. However, The Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Government of Bangladesh has said that the government has no plans to do so.[22]

Nuclear power plant[edit]

Bangladesh plans to set up the 2,400 MW power plant, the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant at Rooppur, Pabna district, 200 km (120 mi) northwest of the capital Dhaka, by 2018. Planned to go into operation by 2023, it will be the country's first nuclear power plant. The plant will be built with an allocation of BDT 20,050 crore, the highest allocation for a single project and over half of the 2018-2019 budget.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Present Installed Generation Capacity (MW) as on 30 June, 2018". bpdb.gov.bd. Bangladesh Power Development Board. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Nuclear Power in Bangladesh". world-nuclear.org. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Booming Energy Sector Of Bangladesh: 90 Percent Have Access To The Electricity". bdnewsnet.com. Dhaka,Bangladesh. Bangladesh News Network. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018. http://www.bpdb.gov.bd/bpdb/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=150&Itemid=16
  4. ^ "Key Statistics". Bangladesh Power Development Board. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  5. ^ "In pictures: Celebrating 20,000MW of power". Dhaka Tribune. 8 September 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rashid and Sajjad (20 August 2018). "Powering the nation". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Source of Light in Bangladesh : 2015". Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Govt plans to sign energy pact with Bangladesh". The Himalayan Times. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Nasrul: Lack in electricity management caused blackout – Dhaka Tribune". dhakatribune.com. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Nationwide blackout in Bangladesh ends – LA Times". Los Angeles Times. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  11. ^ Sunny 2011, p. 136
  12. ^ Randeep Ramesh, "Six killed in protests over UK mining firm in Bangladesh", The Guardian, 29 August 2006, accessed 25 March 2013
  13. ^ "WikiLeaks cables: US pushed for reopening of Bangladesh coal mine", The Guardian, 21 December 2010
  14. ^ "Massive protest in London" Archived 24 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine, BanglaNews24, 10 December 2010, accessed 25 March 2013
  15. ^ a b Rahman and Sarker (2 February 2018). "Nuclear power: Surviving on secrecy and misinformation". The Daily Star. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  16. ^ Rahman and Kholilullah (October 2017). "Use of Solar Panel at Rural Areas in Bangladesh: Impacts, Financial Viability and Future Prospects" (PDF). International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR). Volume 6 Issue 10.
  17. ^ Imam, Badrul (11 April 2018). "Why is solar power development so slow in Bangladesh?". The Daily Star. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  18. ^ http://energybangla.com/largest-solar-power-plant-starts-operation-in-teknaf/
  19. ^ Md. A. Akbar, “An assessment of the geothermal potential of Bangladesh”, United Nations University, Geothermal Training Programme, Orkustofnun, Grensasvegur 9, IS-108 Reykjavik, Iceland, Reports 2011, Number 5.
  20. ^ D.K. Guha, H. Henkel, and B. Imam, “Geothermal potential in Bangladesh - results from investigations of abandoned deep wells,” Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, April 2010.
  21. ^ M. Rahman, “Geothermal potential resources in Thakurgaon district, northern Bangladesh,” Bangladesh Journal of Geology, 25:13-30, 2006.
  22. ^ Faisal Mahmud (20 August 2011). "Experts for microgrids to ease power woes". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  23. ^ Mamun, Shohel (7 June 2018). "Budget FY19: Rooppur nuclear plant receives highest allocation among mega projects". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  • Sunny, Sanwar (2011). Green Buildings, Clean Transport and the Low Carbon Economy: Towards Bangladesh's Vision of a Greener Tomorrow. Germany: LAP Publishers. ISBN 978-3-8465-9333-2.
  • Islam, 2003 M. Islam, Energy efficiency potentials in the power sector of Bangladesh. 2003 Renewable Energy Information Network (REIN), Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Bangladesh (2003).
  • Alam et al., 2004 M.S. Alam, E. Kabir, M.M. Rahman and M.A.K. Chowdhury, Power sector reform in Bangladesh: electricity distribution system, Energy 29 (2004), pp. 1773–1783

External links[edit]