The rapid economic growth along with the population growth of Bangladesh in the last few decades has led to a significant increase in energy demand in recent years. Considering this growing demand, the installed generation capacity (including captives and renewables) was increased by 21,758 MW in a decade from 4,942 MW in 2009 to 26,700 MW in 2022. Despite this constant adjustment to meet the demand, there has always been a supply-demand gap in terms of energy supply in the country. This supply-demand gap has been widening since the first quarter of 2022 when the Russia-Ukraine war-induced conflict led to a sharp increase in LNG price. Energy production in Bangladesh was directly affected by the supply crunch of natural gas as LNG price in the international market increased sharply. Likewise, the industrial sector which is dependent on both Natural Gas and Electricity has faced a strong blow. As a consequence, the manufacturing activity and production of the industries got heavily affected.
Although the energy crisis in Bangladesh was primarily triggered by disruption in the international energy supply chain, there are many other reasons that deteriorated the crisis such as dependency on imported energy, lack of mapping of long-term power sector demand, presence system loss, absence of alternative sources of primary energy and many more. Therefore, for the overall socio-economic development of the country and a sustainable growth of manufacturing and export, energy is an undeniable tool. For a smooth transition of Bangladesh from LDC to a developing nation as well as to ensure stronger economic revival after pandemic even in the time of volatile geo-economic situation, we need to prioritize energy security. It is difficult to address the shortages of energy overnight or within a short span of time. But a concerted effort and effective planning can bring some positive outcome for the businesses.
To address the challenges, formulate short-term, medium term and long-term strategies and way forward to overcome the present energy crisis and chart recommendations to secure the much-needed energy security, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a “Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Energy Strategy: Towards a Predictable Future” on May 20, 2023, Saturday at Dhaka Chamber Auditorium (5th Floor).
Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, President of DCCI moderated the dialogue after delivering his welcome address. Nasrul Hamid, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, GoB graced the occasion as the chief guest and delivered the keynote presentation with an Overview of Future Energy Strategy in the Bangladesh Context. Md. Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), Member of Parliament & Former President, FBCCI was present as the special guest. Mr. Faisal Karim Khan, Director, Summit Power International; Mollah Amzad Hossain, Editor, Energy & Power; Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, Chairman and CEO, PRAN RFL Group; Naser Ezaz Bijoy, President, FICCI; Dr. Badrul Imam, Honorary Professor, Department of Geology, University of Dhaka; Mahbubul Alam, President, The Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI); and Faruque Hassan, President, BGMEA took part as the Distinguished panel discussants.
· Fuel and production efficiency in State-owned power plants need to be ensured. Besides, investment in primary energy sourcing needs to be increased to enhance gas supply for a stable energy supply.
· Predictable pricing policy for energy needs to be ensured so that private sector can make necessary business planning ahead.
· Power Sector Master Plan (PSMP) needs to be revised based on the future demand and energy supply sourcing mapping.
· The economic zones need to be fully prepared for industrialization. For this, various facilities including gas and water need to be ensured.
· Stakeholder discussions with government agencies are required for efficient decision-making to mitigate energy crisis.
· Industry as well as power plants need to be audited and only efficient power plants should continue their operations.
· Security deposit in case of electricity services should be kept pending for a while for the businessmen. This step will help them to take their businesses forward.
· Economic zones where cluster-based industries are developing should have rigid policies on power distribution.
· The government should focus on improving the quality of grid power so that industries can depend on using grid power for their production.
· We should have zero tolerance for people taking illegal connections and thereby generating system loss.
Published on: 2023-05-31