Frequent power outages cause severe disruption in industrial production and other economic activities, observed the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh in its October-December 2017 news bulletin released on Sunday.
ICCB said a recent survey had revealed that power outages result in a loss of industrial output worth $1 billion a year which reduces the GDP growth by about half a percentage point in Bangladesh.
It is estimated that the total transmission and distribution losses amount to one-third of the total generation, the value of which is equal to $247 million per year.
Besides, ICCB also urged the government to go for all-out commercial exploration of coal, and emphasised on hydropower potentials to make the power sector sustainable and vibrant for economic growth.
Therefore, there was a need for the development of appropriate infrastructure and effective monitoring system to overcome the major hurdle in efficiently delivering power, it said.
Though the government had achieved significant success in electricity generation, actual capacity utilisation was 9,507 MW only due to vulnerable and double-digit system loss prevailing in the distribution mechanism.
As per the power sector master plan, the Government would import coal for the generation of 22,000 MW power within 2041 despite the fact that the country has an estimated reserve of some 3 billion tonnes of high-quality coal in five coalfields in northern districts, it said.
Although experts and the members of the parliamentary standing committee on energy affairs had lent their support for open-pit mining as it is risk-free and cost-effective, the authorities are reluctant to go ahead with the option fearing a backlash from the opponents of the system, ICCB said.
Due to fast depleting gas reserve and lack of major initiatives to develop local coal, it was becoming difficult to achieve a sustainable local primary energy source for Bangladesh and that might result in the country’s 92 per cent dependency on imported fuel by 2030 if local coal was not explored and exploited, international chamber said.
Stressing the hydropower potential in South Asia’s Nepal, Bhutan and India, ICCB said that the Nepal alone has theoretical hydropower potential of 83,000 MW, but so far, less than 2 per cent had been realized.
On the other hand, Bhutan had an estimated hydropower capacity of around 30,000 MW and that’s they Bangladesh might explore the possibility of joining Nepal and Bhutan in tapping the vast hydropower resources.
Bangladesh’s power generation had increased to 16,046 MW including imported 600 MW from India.
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