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Journal of Chemical Engineering, IEB
Vol. ChE. 26, No. 1, December 2011

Renewable Energy: The Key to Achieving Sustainable
Development of Rural Bangladesh
M. S. Islam, A. M. H. R. Khan, S. Nasreen, F. Rabbi & M. R. Islam Grameen Shakti
Grameen Bank Bhaban (19th floor), Mirpur 2, Dhaka 1216, Bangladesh Abstract
Renewable energy technologies (RETs) can help reduce poverty, energy shortage and environmental degradation such as desertification, biodiversity depletion and climate change effects in Bangladesh. The country is short of gas and electricity supply. Over-exploitation of biomass in meeting energy needs of the rural people has caused environmental degradation. RET can help solve those problems if it is widely used in the rural Bangladesh where people primarily depend on biomass energy. Bangladesh has enough renewable to mi tigate such energy crisis and its adverse consequences. Bangladesh being an underdeveloped country, global initiative would be helpful in transferring RETs for the village households. This paper describes the glimpses of RETs in Bangladesh in terms of its policy issues, implementation, dissemination, marketing, and research and development activities. Modern RETs are still in the research, development and demonstration phase in the country. Like most of the developing countries, there is a niche market for new RETs and several private sector entrepreneurs and NGOs have tried to explore this market.

renewable energy technology; solar home system; rural development; environmental; electricity; biogas; improved cooking stove; clean energy; energy efficiency.

Bangladesh has major problems with energy crisis,
persisting poverty and environmental degradation. With
only 49% of Bangladeshis having access to electricity,
the per capita energy use is only 180 kWh. Moreover, the
people who are connected with the national grid are
experiencing frequent load shedding. At present, the
country can generate about 4500 MW electricity, while
peak demand is about 6000 MW (USAID, 2011).
Therefore, the supply is unreliable. Most of the supply is
limited to urban areas; access to electricity in rural areas is less than 10%. RET can solve this problem by
such as sunshine, wind, tidal waves, waterfalls or river
current, sea waves or biomass. Use of rene wable energy,
increased energy efficiency and enhancement of energy
security constitute a sustainable energy strategy
Renewable forms of energy emit far smaller amounts of
greenhouse gases compared with fossil fuels and
increased energy conserv ation facilitates the reduction of
primary fossil fuel use, thus mitigating climate change
impacts while contributing to the provision of energy
services and enhancing security of energy supply. Usable
biomass including cow dung, human excreta, poultry
litter, kitchen organic waste, aquatic plants and weeds of
a village in Bangladesh can produce the amount of
biogas that villagers require for cooking. The fermented
slurry from biogas digester is enriched with nitrogen,
potassium and other nutrients. It is, therefore, best for
soil, environmental health and agricultural productivity
On the other hand, Bangladesh has one of the highest
solar insulation on the earth. The average solar radiation
varies here from 5.05 kWh/m2 day in winter to 8.03

kWh/m2 day in summer. As Bangladesh is a compact flat
country with a little geographic variation, the solar
radiation data collected from one point may be treated as
that of the whole country. In other word, affordable
availability of RETs to the rural area could be the
panacea of poverty reduction and environmental fix in

The relationship between energy and economic
development is crucial; the process of economic growth
requires the substation of energy mix in the performance
of agriculture, industrial and domestic tasks. The lack of
adequate energy in rural...
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