Bangladesh inches toward green power goal

Solar use is widespread in Bangladesh, considered one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Bangladesh inches toward green power goal

  • The new 28 megawatt solar power plant in Cox’s Bazar District is the largest yet opened in the country
  • The solar plants come on top of the widespread use of solar home systems in the low-lying country

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s electricity generation from renewable sources has passed the 5 percent mark with the opening of a major new solar plant — boosting hopes the country might meet its goal of getting 10 percent of power from renewables by 2020, experts said.
The new 28 megawatt solar power plant in Cox’s Bazar District is the largest yet opened in the country, following the earlier construction of a 3 MW plant.
The solar plants come on top of the widespread use of solar home systems in the low-lying country, considered one of those most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Currently about 5.2 million small-scale solar home systems provide electricity to almost 12 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people, Dipal C. Barua, president of the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
He said that accelerating construction of solar power facilities “will build confidence among future investors.”
The new 116-acre solar park will supply enough electricity to meet about 80 percent of power demand in the Teknaf sub-district where it is located, said Mahmudul Hasan, chief financial officer for Joules Power.
That area has about 300,000 power users, though little in the way of industrial or large commercial users, he said.
Nuher Latif Khan, managing director of Technaf Solartech Energy, part of Joules Power that owns the plant, said it had begun operations ahead of schedule.
In Bangladesh, “the future of solar power is very fantastic,” he said.
Khan said the solar park can produce up to 28 MW of solar electricity at peak capacity and has contracted to provide 20 MW to the government grid.
Barua said several other large solar plants are in the pipeline in Bangladesh, after receiving government approval, with a few at advanced stages of construction.
While solar plants need a large amount of initial investment to set up, he said, they have small operational costs afterward, unlike plants that need ongoing sources of coal or other fossil fuels.
The government has supported construction of rooftop solar plants on factories and other commercial buildings, he said, with some facilities on large plants expected to generate a megawatt or more each. With such solar plants, thousands of factories in Bangladesh should be able to meet their own electricity needs, and contribute surplus power to the national grid.
“I think one day we will see every building has a rooftop solar power system,” Barua said.
However, finding available land to set up ground-level solar plants is a major challenge in densely populated Bangladesh, he said.
Sheikh Reaz Ahmed, director of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), said the country’s 2008 renewable energy policy calls for generating 10 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020. With the country expected to generate 20,000 MW of electricity in total by the date, renewables would have to reach 2,000 MW to hit that target, he said.
So far Bangladesh generates just over 530 MW from renewables, nearly half of that from hydropower plants, he said. But the country is set to put online another 600 MW of renewable power in 2019 alone, he said, with another 1,100 MW rolled out in 2020 and 2021.
Not all construction is progressing smoothly, however, with some plants tied up in problems with land acquisition and other issues.
Meanwhile, energy generation from fossil fuels also is rising.
Last year, Bangladesh approved a proposal to construct 10 new oil-fired power plants, capable of generating 1,800 MW of electricity.
In January, construction also began on a 1,200 MW coal-fired power plant in Cox’s Bazar, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
That means boosting Bangladesh’s percentage of renewable energy above 10 percent won’t be easy, as “each year total power generation from traditional sources will go up” too, Ahmed said.


Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

Updated 4 min 26 sec ago
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Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors are considering bringing a case against Nissan Motor Co. after Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct, the Asahi Shimbun daily said on Wednesday.
Ghosn, one of the global car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan’s internal investigations found he had allegedly engaged in years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reporting earnings. The Japanese company plans to remove him as chairman on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly conspired to understate Ghosn’s compensation over five years starting in fiscal 2010 as being about half of the actual 10 billion yen ($88.65 million).
The Asahi quoted unnamed sources as saying that the mis-stating meant the company also bore responsibility and that prosecutors were eyeing the possibility of putting together a case against it.
Prosecutors were not immediately able to comment. Nissan declined to comment on the report.
There has been no comment from Ghosn or Kelly on any of the allegations against them, including a report in Japan’s Nikkei business daily on Tuesday that Ghosn had received share price-linked compensation of about 4 billion yen over a five-year period to March 2015 but that it went unreported in Nissan’s financial reports.
Reuters could not contact Ghosn or Kelly for comment.
Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Nissan’s French partner Renault, and chairman of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp, the third partner in the alliance.
Renault on Tuesday tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for Ghosn, but the board refrained from firing him while awaiting for detail on the allegations — a decision that could buy more time for an accelerated, permanent succession process.
Shares in Nissan rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday after falling nearly 6 percent a day earlier. ($1 = 112.8000 yen)