US to support renewable energy programme

The United States will extend its support to Bangladesh in participating in the `United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Program’.

The visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr Robert Ichord voiced his country’s support after a meeting with State Minister for Power and Energy Mohammad Enamul Haque at the Energy Ministry on Thursday.

US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena, Power Secretary Monwar Islam and other officials of the Power and Energy Ministry were present at the meeting.

Ichord said his visit is to focus the response by the US government to Bangladesh to participate in the program which is led by the UN Secretary General and also by the World Bank President.

“We’re here to respond to the interest expressed by the Bangladesh government in the `sustainable energy for all initiative’ program for which the US government is a strong supporter. Former Secretary of State committed US$ 2 billion for advancing the goal for sustainable energy,” he said while briefing reporters.

The US deputy assistant secretary said the main goals of the programs are ensuring energy access by all by 2030, doubling the rate of energy efficiency and also doubling the share of renewable energy in the total energy generation.

He informed that over 70 countries have expressed their interests in participating in the initiative. Public and private sectors have been working since the Rio conference last year on the issue.

Ichord said: “We are here to kick off those discussions with the government and this is one of the first meetings. We will have more meetings with both government and private sector as well to understand their interests in participation and advancing the three goals.”

He hoped that the governments of the two countries can develop programs of collaboration that can be successful in mobilizing the technical and financial resources that are needed to advance energy development of Bangladesh.

Replying to a question on bringing down the price of renewable energy to make it affordable for Bangladeshi poor people, the US officials said affordability of the energy is a critical aspect in all societies.

He said the common wisdom is to diversify energy resources. Price of oil is now all time high and Bangladesh uses lot of oil. There is opportunity for efficient way to use energy and substitute the technologies and resources.

Dr Robert Ichord said renewable energy prices have fallen dramatically in last couple of years and that most countries are now pursuing very active programs to develop renewable energy as one of  the energy sources to meet their energy needs.

“I think Bangladesh is taking important steps towards developing the renewable energy,” he added.

Power Secretary Monwar Islam said that Bangladesh has expressed its interest to promote renewable energy-based irrigation system. UNB

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