POWER CRISIS IN BANGLADESH: NATURE OF THE PROBLEM AND THE WAY FORWARD
Power crisis has become a chronic disease in our country since the mid-nineties due to increase in consumption of electricity in various sectors with the increase of population. Despite the time-demanding necessity of meeting the increasing trend in electricity consumption, No real action has been taken in resolving this national crisis. We have gone through a lot of policies and procedures of implementation so far, but focus on the actual situation seemed to be absent.
Bangladesh is under a severe power crisis with nearly 1500 MW of electricity falling short. A recent research reveals that the on-going electricity crisis is cutting down 10%-12% of industrial growth and 9% of agricultural growth, that leads to the cumulative bleeding of the fragile economy of Bangladesh. Export-oriented industries are poised to lose the most from the threat. The market for our goods at the international level has been facing severe competition. Yet we are surviving in the international market with the low cost of our labour forces. If the increasing cost stemming from the power crisis adds to that, the cost effectiveness of our merchandise may deteriorate in the near future resulting in loss of market share at the international level. If so, export may decrease, unemployment rate may increase and the backward linkage industry will face a complete disastrous situation. Electricity crisis is seriously hampering irrigation, which is important to the rural economy and that may cause lower productivity. This decreasing trend in rural productivity may have a negative impact on the Internal Rates of Return of the nation.
The country does not have too many options but to develop coal for power production on priority basis. The nuclear option can also be explored. Renewable energy policy now allows the government to embark on large-scale projects with incentives that can play a good supplementary role in the long run.
This paper will analyze the sources of power generation with a view to find out the root causes of the crisis. An effort will also be made to discuss the impacts of power crisis and to suggest possible measures to overcome the situation on short and long term basis.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the current power crisis with a view to finding out possible measures to overcome the situation in a time-bound framework.
PRESENT STATE OF POWER GENERATION AND POWER SECTOR
6. Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) has a total of 70 generating units. Their generation capacity varies from 2 Megawatt (MW) to 360 MW. Total installed capacity as of 25 April 2009 is 5167 MW including independent power plant (IPP).
7. Bangladesh has Gas fired unit (GFU), Liquid fuel Unit (LFU), Hydro Units (HU) and coal Fired Unit (CFU). Around 84% of electricity is produced from GFU. The percentage of production of LFU, CFU and HU are 6%, 6% and 3% respectively.
Bangladesh is one of the lowest power consuming countries of the world. About 30% of the total population has an access to the electricity with per capita consumption of 117 kilowatts hours whereas for India it is 421 kwh and for Pakistan 384 kwh.
Bangladesh at present generates 3700-3800 MW electricity (government sector 2292 MW and private sector 1245 MW) against the countries demand near 5500 MW. The average consumption by industrial services, domestic services, commercial services and other sectors are 47.32%, 38.40%, 7.18% and 7.10%. The consumption is increasing at 10% per year but the generation of power is not increasing in that way.
It is assumed that a total of 1011 MW power would be added to the national grid at the end of December this year (public sector 330 MW and rest 681 MW from the private sector). It would make significant contribution in meeting demand of electricity in the...
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