Taskforce to woo support for sustainable energy

A taskforce might be formed at the national level comprising representatives from public and private sectors, NGOs and donor agencies to move forward the `United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Programme’.The SE4ALL programme is an initiative of the UN Secretary General targeted with three main goals such as ensuring energy access by all by 2030, doubling the rate of energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy globally.
The UNDP, the World Bank and the US government have been supporting the global programme for which the American government alone promised US$ 2 billion.
According to an official source at the Ministry of Power, the idea of forming such a taskforce came up from recent meetings between the visiting US energy team led by Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr Robert Ichord and the Power Ministry.
The members of the US energy team met twice, first on March 14 and then on March 21, to discuss different issues on cooperation between the two nations for the SE4ALL programme.
In order to promote the programme and asses the needs of Bangladesh for the initiative, the US energy team arrived in Dhaka and held a series of meetings with government, private sector and donor agencies.
To cope up with the programme, Bangladesh has already drawn up a plan to increase the country’s renewable energy’s share to 5 percent in 2015 from the existing less than one percent and 10 percent by 2020. That means power generation from renewable energy will go up to 800 MW by 2015 and 2000 MW by 2020. The total fund requirement for the programme was set at US$2 billion.
At present, the country’s renewable energy production is about 77 MW power most of which comes from solar system.
The plan also outlined 10 percent energy efficient achievement in the five years from 2011 to 2016 which also needs another $3 billion.
In line with the plan, the government has already moved to form a separate entity—Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA)—to deal with the renewable energy issues.
But funding and high prices of renewable energy have been the main constraints in implementation of the sustainable energy programmes. During the discussions with the US Energy Team, Power Ministry officials raised the issues seeking their support.
Sources said the Power Ministry officials specially urged the US government to extend its financial and technical supports for solar-based irrigation, improved stove in rural areas and solar home system under the SE4ALL programme.
“But the team didn’t instantly make any commitment. Rather, they emphasised further discussions to evolve a cooperation strategy first and then funding commitment,” a senior official at the Power Ministry said adding that the US team suggested the Bangladesh government to form a “broad-based taskforce at the national level” to deal with the issues.
“Actually, after a long discussion both the sides have agreed on several issues and reached a consensus on forming a taskforce. Following the discussion, an aide-mémoire is supposed to be signed by both sides. But at the last moment that did not happen because of the further need for scrutiny of the draft aide-mémoire,” said the Power Ministry official preferring anonymity.
Contacted, Power Ministry’s Additional Secretary Tapos Kumar Roy confirmed UNB about the fruitful discussion between the US team and the Power Ministry. He said that both sides agreed on the need for a taskforce at national level comprising all concerned parties, including the public and private sectors, NGOs and the donor agencies for the SE4ALL programme. “But it`s not decided yet as to who will head the taskforce,” he said. UNB
(Source: Agencies)

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