Friday, October 05, 2012

Sustainable Urban Energy for Dhaka City

by Md. Zahidur Rahman and Saeed Ahmed Siddiquee
October 5, 2012

Our entire way of life and all of our economic projections relies on more energy. Howbeit, the world is now facing most serious challenge in energy supply which could be a more devastating crisis than world wars. Global energy depletion has already begun, although few countries have realized it. The peak energy affects the future of the entire global economy. Presently the energy producing resources like fossil fuel, gas, coal, and uranium has placed in peak position. It is predicted that those non-renewable energy is going to be declined position in every place of the earth.

Dominant consumption of non-renewable energy for electricity is leading to Green House Gasses (GHG) emission into the atmosphere. According to the International Energy Agency (2011), approximately 901 grammes of CO2 or equivalent are released per kilowatt hour of electricity that generated from coal. Presumably, global urban populations are principle responsible for GHG emissions due to the consumption of bulk amount of energy for the aristocratic lifestyle. While on the contrary, Renewable World stated that still 1.3 billion people in the world still live without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people have no access to clean cooking facilities. Admittedly, energy crisis will happen in future and then urban inhabitants will be more sufferer compare to rural people. In this situation, global economic wheel may be plummeted and thus leading to global inevitable poverty. Indeed, a concerning era has already arise in front of the global leaders to make them busy thinking alternatively about how to overcome this energy crisis?

At present, what is the overview of Bangladesh's energy situation? Currently, around 43% population belongs to electricity facilities with per capita consumption of 140 kilowatt hour. The electricity consumption rate has increased gradually due to the demand of overwhelmed growing population. Reported by the country power system Master Plan 2010, the forecasted demand would be 19,000 megawatt by the year 2021 and 34,000 megawatt by 2030. Till now majority of our energy come from non-renewable sources which are facing challenges in order to growing energy demand for mostly electricity generation. Presently, Bangladesh has 20.5 TFC recoverable natural gas reserve and 420 million tones of coal reserve. Noticeable gas fields are already facing multifaceted crisis for gas supply for electricity generation. For example, Sangu gas field has reduced the supply of gas from a well. In addition, day by day oil prices have increased in the global market schemes which lead to raise prices per unit cost of electricity.

Surprisingly, the capital city of Dhaka itself consumes almost 41.22% of the total generated electricity while the demand of electricity is approximately 12000 megawatt and only 5493 megawatt is on pipeline. Stated by DESA, the demand for power in Dhaka city has increased by around 10% a year. As the supply is not adequate to meet the demand in the city, so either we have to adopt it or think alternative path way to solve the power crisis. If we consider Thailand, we can see that almost 28% electricity comes from the renewable sources. Bangladesh also has plenty of renewable energy sources to innovate and mainstreaming it to the main grid.
In Dhaka city we have not enough wind speed for windmill, neither enough River current for hydroelectric power plant nor even any suitable peri-urban places for nuclear power station installation. Nuclear power plant might be a suitable option for bulk amount of power generation and also it has no carbon emission but it is supposed to be risky in terms of earthquake frequency. Surprisingly, Dhaka is situated in the solar radiation receiving zone on the earth with almost 335 sunny days a year. Hence, solar photovoltaic energy generation is the best option for Dhaka city to face the present energy crisis.

According to CDMP's Urban Risk Reduction Specialists, there are 3,26,000 (appx.) buildings in Dhaka City. If we consider introducing a 5m2 solar panel for each building, it might produce about 222 megawatt (5*136W*326000) electricity. Another expert from the same domain said that, we have almost 20000 shopping malls in Dhaka city and where we could introduce renewable energy for electricity generation. Furthermore, the growing real estate companies could also use environment favorable architectural design like Council Building-2 (Solar energy capturing building) in Melbourne where produce a substantial amount of electricity locally for every building. Apart from this, solar technology also reduce GHG emission rate by absorbing around 20% solar radiations that might balance the inner city heat. Cutting down of existing load shading, long term health and financial benefits are also might be ensured and even people could get installation cost back within three years.
From renewable energy sources, Bangladesh government has set a target to meet 5% by the year 2015 and 10% by 2020 of total power demand (RENDEV). However, our government has already been taken some effective initiative for enhancing efficiency of electricity through energy saving distribution within urban communities. Bangladesh has an extensive renewable energy policy. Few governmental offices, institutions and common places are now being implemented solar power installation for the purpose of alternative power generation.

Energy is one o f the most important ingredients required to alleviate poverty, realize socio-economic and human development. Energy returned on energy invested, banning of profligate users, increase people awareness, policy implementation, generation of individual or household level options, community or private sector initiative along with investment, zero interest bank loans for renewable energy and enforcement of law and order situation are required to overcome the present condition. Furthermore, we need feasibility study of those technologies aiming to adopt suitable technology for electricity production from renewable resources. For an instance close your eyes and think, what will be the situation without or insufficient electricity supply of Dhaka? Completely become dead city!

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