The World Bank has approved 185 million U.S. dollars to add up to 310 Megawatt (MW) in renewable energy generation capacity in Bangladesh and mobilize private sector participation to meet the growing demand for electricity in the country.
According to a statement of the Washington-based lender received here Saturday, 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 the Feni district, which will be implemented by the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB), said the bank.
Currently, it said, the share of the total installed renewable energy in grid supply is only 1.5 percent and has significant potential for scaling up.
The project will help provide better access to cleaner electricity and air by avoiding burning fossil fuels. It will help cut emissions by 377,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, it added.
"Bangladesh is well on its way towards becoming an upper middle-income country with about 80 percent 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 percent of the population,"said Dandan Chen, World Bank's acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The project will help mobilize up to 212 million U.S. dollars 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 photovoltaics (PV) and large-scale renewables.
"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 V?yrynen, World Bank's team leader for the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project, adding that "a strong collaboration between the public and private sector will help not only lower carbon emissions, but also meet energy demand."
The 185-million-U.S.-dollar credit also includes a 26.38-million-U.S.-dollar loan and a 2.87-million-U.S.-dollar grant from the Strategic Climate Fund of the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds.(2019-03-02 Xinhua)