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Denmark’s Green Endeavour and How It Can Help Bangladesh

On 22 February of this year, Denmark produced 97 Gigawatt (GwH) from wind energy, meeting its full demand for the day. This is fully in line with Denmark’s commitment of meeting 50% of its electricity demand from wind by 2020 and its move to 100% clean, green, renewable energy by 2050. Denmark’s energy sourcing transition is well underway.
Let’s look back a few decades to the Denmark of the 1970s. In 1972, it is reported that 92% of electricity in Denmark came from imported oil. The oil crisis of 1973 and energy crisis of 1979 forced the country to devise new strategies to strengthen its energy security. These crises triggered the initiation into commercial wind production and exploration of the North Sea natural gas. It also saw the beginning of what the Danes refer to as the Turbine Adventure, where individuals put up their own turbines and were supported by engineers, scientists, and even politicians. The Danish government started providing 40% subsidy for initial investment in turbine installation. In 1985, in a bold move, Denmark dropped nuclear power from its energy strategy.
Denmark thus unveiled a new horizon in renewable energy developing wind, bio-gas/biomass and waste-to-energy as alternative sources. Most importantly, they also focused on efficiency. Today, Danish companies enjoy leading positions in innovative energy efficient technologies, which have contributed to the delinking of energy consumption from economic growth. It is reported By State of Green1 that while the Danish economy grew by 70% since 1980, the energy consumption has remained virtually constant, CO2 emissions have been reduced and total water consumption has also been reduced by 40%.

“While Bangladesh has moved towards greater power production using traditional fuel, it has also set a target of diversifying to renewable and sustainable energy, the immediate target being 10% by 2020.”

This look into Denmark is significant for Bangladesh, which is enjoying economic growth of about 6% for the last 6 years despite the weakened energy supply situation. While Bangladesh has moved towards greater power production using traditional fuel, it has also set a target of diversifying to renewable and sustainable energy, the immediate target being 10% by 2020. The State Minister for Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, only recently mentioned that the government is aiming at 2000 MW from renewable sources from 2020.
So how can Bangladesh move towards its goal? Bangladesh can, and already is, actively looking into energy efficiency and clean energy solutions to stay competitive in the global markets. This is an area where Bangladesh is and can avail further smart solutions from one of the global leaders in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, Denmark.
To create awareness and initiate dialogue in this field, the Embassy of Denmark in Dhaka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh jointly organized a conference on Green Growth Solutions in Dhaka in April this year. This was attended by stakeholders, public sector entities and private sector companies of both countries.
Traditionally viewed as a development partner in social sectors, Denmark has been involved in the area of energy efficiency since 2015 through a DANIDA funded programme called the Energy Efficiency Engagement or 3e. It has provided free energy efficiency walk-through audits to about 40 factories in Bangladesh. The Secretariat of this programme is based in the Nordic Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
3e has already helped 14 factories lower their CO2 emissions by 19,328 metric tonnes per year and helped save $883,000 as energy costs annually. According to the findings of 3e, there exists a potential to save more than 100,000 metric tonnes CO2 emissions per year with a simultaneous saving of $7 million in energy costs in the 42 factories they have already visited. In the process, it has also been able to create awareness in industries about energy efficient solutions.
On a more one-to-one basis, The Trade Council in the Embassy of Denmark is constantly working to facilitate Danish technology providers to explore and work in Bangladesh. One such flagship project is a UNFCCC registered CO2 emission reduction project in the gas pipeline network of Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Company Limited. The private sector Danish company NE Climate has partnered with Titas Gas in this self-financing project to detect, seal and reduce gas leakage, thereby reducing CO2 emission and gaining carbon credits. This is the first and only UNFCCC registered project in this sector in Bangladesh and has already reduced CO2 emission by 1 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd).
Last year, The Trade Council organized a delegation to Denmark of public and private sector representatives from Bangladesh in the power generation sector. This led to creating awareness and interest in Danish technologies and in one instance, even procurement of energy efficient Danish technology by a private company.
The Bangladeshi industries can avail a range of Danish technologies that complements each other with their uncompromising high quality and durability. This often means higher price, which can be an initial deterrent to the Bangladeshi entrepreneur. However, a holistic analysis often shows that they are cheaper in the long-term because of the minimum maintenance cost, durability and their inherent energy efficiency.
By regularly organizing workshops, delegations, individual meetings, The Trade Council is continuously facilitating commercial partnerships, establishing network, creating awareness and disseminating information on Danish expertise and technologies. Backed by their years of experience and knowledge, Denmark already is a forerunner in the area of efficient and renewable energy technologies. Bangladesh can learn and use what Denmark has to offer and Denmark is proud to inspire, share and work with Bangladesh in its move towards adaptation of green solutions.

**The writer works as the Senior Trade Adviser in The Trade Council of the Embassy of Denmark in Dhaka and can be reached at samish@um.dk.

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