Bangladesh stands before a historic decision on its energy future at the end of this year.

Read on for BWGED’s summary of the latest analysis and expert opinion on the best energy mix for Bangladesh to meet its growing needs.

What is the Power Systems Master Plan?

Bangladesh’s Power Sector Master Plan determines the overall direction of the country’s electricity direction. Policy recommendations made in the PSMP help to guide where the government invests, whether in fossil fuels or clean energy.

Which energy is cheapest?

As the government moved away from dirty coal-fired power, it ramped up the use of imported gas, also known as ‘LNG’. The government buys a mixture of longer-term and ‘spot’ LNG, the latter referring to cargoes which are purchased spontaneously as and when needed.

Volatility in the LNG market has risen substantially in recent years, and at times the government has paid over three times the standard market price for gas because of supply issues overseas.

Meanwhile, the cost for renewables is plummeting globally and is cheaper than gas for use in the power sector in many parts of the world. Costs are set to decline even further over the coming years.

Which energy is most reliable?

Imported gas, or LNG, has proven itself to be an unreliable source of LNG because of the fact that it is dependent on the stability of countries overseas and if bought spontaneously or ‘spot’, it is subject to availability, which can lead to shortages and high prices.

The interconnectedness of trading means that a supply outage in a country thousands of miles away can have an adverse effect on Bangladesh. This became evident in early 2021 when an electricity shortage in Texas pushed up global prices for gas in Bangladesh and other countries in Asia.

With advancements in battery storage, renewables have become a much more reliable form of energy. Off-grid solutions can also cater power to rural communities which are not connected to the central electricity grid. Home-grown power also has the advantage of being domestically-produced, ensuring security of supply.

Which energy is least harmful to human health?

There is also increasing evidence that LNG can cause harm to human health, since indoor gas stoves can emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is linked to increased risk of respiratory issues.

Which Energy Contributes Least To Climate Change?

Coal is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change. The burning of coal is responsible for 46% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide and accounts for 72% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the electricity sector.

Methane, the main component of gas, is the second most important GHG after CO2. While there is over 230 times more CO2 in the atmosphere, methane in comparison traps up to 86 times more heat over 20 years, and 34 times more over a century.

Gas produces fewer carbon emissions than coal when burned, but the overall climate impact of gas is increased by methane leaks during production, transportation and distribution – known as “fugitive” emissions. When these fugitive emissions reach more than 3.2%, gas plants have higher life cycle GHG emissions than coal.

Renewable energy helps decarbonise the grid. For example, in the US renewable energy emits 50 g CO2/kWh over its lifetime, drastically lower than coal with 1,000 g CO2/kWh or gas with 475 g CO2/kWh, according to an NREL study. This equates to coal being 1900% dirtier than renewables, while gas is 850% dirtier than renewables.

Analysis

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Bangladesh seeks spot LNG cargo for first time in 8 months

Bangladesh is set to resume importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the spot market as it has sought a cargo for the first time in eight months, reports Bloomberg.The state-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited, also a company of the Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation (Petrobangla), is seeking to purchase a cargo on delivered ex-ship (DES) basis for 21-22 February delivery. The term DES requires a seller to deliver goods to a buyer at an agreed port of arrival.

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Revving up clean energy adoption

The country is lagging far behind in adoption of renewable energy. Bangladesh targets 40 per cent power generation from clean energy by 2041. Why is it going so slow, especially when the country is suffering from myriad problems? The Power Development Board is failing to pay the bills to the power plants for its purchase of electricity. Now it plans to raise the power price once again.

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