ADB funds PV plant in Bangladesh as bank's President calls for more renewables in Asia

Bangladesh will soon boast a five-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Kaptai in the south-eastern hill district of Rangamati with financial help from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The ADB's President recently urged Asian nations to “take radical steps” to increase energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy.
ADB funds PV plant in Bangladesh as bank

According to the Gulf Times the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is planning to construct a solar PV plant with the help of the ADB. Sources told the publication that the project would cost 19.83 million taka (around €180,000), of which ADB would provide 15.68 million taka, BPDB 79.4 million taka and the government 335.7 million taka. It is thought that the array will be grid-connected, making it the first renewable energy project to be linked to Bangladesh’s power grid.

The site selected for the proposed power plant also houses the Karnafuli Hydropower Plant and it is expected that it will be completed by 2013. The project is being implemented by the Rural Electrification Board, the Local Government Engineering Department, BPDB and other agencies.

The project developers also report that the plant will generate 7,413 MWh per annum, saving fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 5,460 tonnes a year.

Ramping up renewables across Asia

The ADB and Bangladesh also recently signed a grant agreement of $3.3 million to provide renewable energy in rural areas that have no access to electricity. The new funding came off the back of a speech by the President of ADB, Haruhiko Kuroda, calling on Asian nations to boost their use of renewable energies and improve energy efficiency to avert a looming energy crisis.

Asia and the Pacific’s strong economic growth and its increasing population are generating the world’s fastest growing demand for energy. It is estimated that energy requirements in the region will double by 2030. If left unchecked, the lack of energy security may reverse the region’s hard-won gains in poverty reduction.Continued reliance on fossil fuels will also increase the threat of climate change, thus affecting millions of Asia’s poor and vulnerable through increased natural disasters and shortages in food and water.

In light of this approaching crisis, the ADB warns that “a significant push is needed to fast track new business models and policies for clean energy development”.

Speaking at the 6th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) in Manila (Philipines) in June, he Kuroda said “Asians have more to lose from climate change than any other people. The climate fight will be won or lost by decisions made in this region. An important key to lowering energy intensity is the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and transition to renewable energy. Asia must also take radical steps to increase energy efficiency.”

In 2010, ADB invested $1.76 billion in clean energy and is on target to meet its goal of reaching $2 billion annually by 2013. ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative was launched in 2010 to help develop 3,000 megawatts of new solar energy by 2013. In addition, ADB has recently announced its plan to inject $60 million into three venture capital funds that will provide early stage financing support for new climate technology products. This initiative is expected to leverage over $400 million in private sector investment.

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