Bangladesh Clean Energy Summit
Since its inception by the Government of Bangladesh, Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) has been playing a major role in developing and financing infrastructure for renewable energy and energy efficient projects in Bangladesh. To further promote that momentum, IDCOL organized “Bangladesh Clean Energy Summit” on 10th & 11th March 2019 at ‘Bangabandhu International Conference Centre’ in Dhaka.
Asif Tarafdar sat with the CRO of IDCOL, Mohammed Jabed Emran to discuss what the summit aims to achieve and the future of green infrastructure in Bangladesh.
How important is sustainable development in the context of our country?
Bangladesh is growing, and growing very fast for the last five or six years. Our growth is currently at seven percent and it will touch eight percent soon. What is growth without sustainability? The growth has to be sustainable, IDCOL’s vision is to ensure the economic development of the country and achieve a greater standard of living through sustainable industrialization.
What do you mean by green development?
It means less emission. We are building a lot of high-rise buildings and they are using a lot of energy during its construction. There is also a lot of power wasted in powering those buildings in terms of air conditioners and water. In a green building, energy and resources are maximized. Currently, we are working on energy efficiency and renewable energy. In terms of energy efficiency, we are promoting green buildings. We are now focusing on industrial green building. The industry is also encouraging green building and green certifications. It helps their products to be more appealing to customers. It will help them to capture more market share. That is why they are investing in the green building.
IDCOL offers “Green finance”, what does green finance mean?
In Bangladesh, IDCOL is the leading financier of green infrastructure. We are working on renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. They are different from conventional sectors which are financed by banks and other financial institutions. But renewable energy and energy efficiency are a relatively new concept and banks and financial institutions consider them risky. They are reluctant to invest money in these sectors yet. Being a state-owned government financial institution, we are taking this challenge head-on and investing in the technologies which will make our world a better place to live.
Are you also financing in the household sector?
We are currently engaged in the industrial sector only. There are currently no such plans in place.
There has been a notion that renewable energy is expensive and inefficient, would you agree or disagree, why?
Renewable energy is expensive at the initial level but pays for itself over time. I don’t think renewable energy is inefficient at all. We are burning fossil fuels for our energy consumption, which is very harmful to the environment. In aggregate, we are harming our self. On the other hand, renewable energy is safe and it is abundant. Currently, due to lack of technology, it might appear being inefficient than fossil fuel. In a few years, renewable energy will actually be more efficient than non-renewable. Bangladesh is also a land scarce country, which is not ideal for the non-renewable energy industry. To harness solar power, a lot of empty lands are needed. Considering this issue, we are working with industries to make their rooftop solar. Bangladesh government has a target to acquire 10% of total energy required from the renewable source. Currently, we are at 3% but I am positive by 2021, we will reach our goal. We are not for the complete elimination of non-renewable energy right away but to source a substantial portion of our energy needs from a renewable source.
How important is branding and campaigning in promoting green development?
Renewable energy is a relatively new phenomenon in our country. A few decades back, people had no idea about the concept. As the conventional source is depleting, people are getting more and more aware of it. The issue with green technology right now is a higher initial cost, so some promotional activities are required to let people know about the long-term benefits.
What is the aim of the summit?
This is Bangladesh Clean Energy Summit; we are promoting energy efficiency, non-renewable and green infrastructure. We have invited a lot of exhibitors in this sector. There are seminars to let people know more about the sector and our operations. There are more than 100 stalls. There are more than 65 exhibitors, out of that 25 are from abroad. Every session in our seminars is packed with people. In total, we are having 9 sessions in two days. We have 45 speakers, a significant number of them are from abroad. There is a great collaboration between different countries in this sector. This summit is the result of constant hard work for the past four months, we have received an overwhelming response. The response to our seminars has been so good that we had to turn away some guests as the auditorium was full.