Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Bangladesh to receive additional $130 million for rural energy project
The World Bank has approved $130 million in financing to support rural access to energy in Bangladesh. This new funding builds on the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Credit and is targeted toward three programs for the south Asian country on the Bay of Bengal. Financing will focus on solar home systems in rural areas, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and additional energy distribution networks.
With more than 250 000 rural applications worldwide solar home systems are a cost-effective way to improve rural quality of life. The plan in Bangladesh is to provide electricity to 300 000 households through solar home applications. "Many of these households in poor areas are too remote to connect to the electricity grid and would never receive electricity through conventional electrification methods,” states Rob Floyd, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.
In areas of the country with the highest electricity demand 10 million CFLs will be distributed to replace incandescent bulbs. The Government’s long-term objective is to replace all incandescents with 30 million CFLs in the long term. “Replacing these lamps, which will be free of charge for residential consumers, is expected to reduce the peak demand by about 360 MW,” said Raihan Elahi, Senior Energy Specialist and Task Leader for the project.
Only 40 percent of Bangladesh has access to electricity and demand is growing at a rate of over 500 MW a year. Per capita electricity generation is among the lowest in the world, at about 165 kWh per year and REREDC supports the continued renovation of the electricity distribution network. The development credit provides financing for renewable energy projects that include biomass and biogas power plants among other initiatives.
The World Bank credit is additional financing for REREDC. Since 2003 REREDC has connected 600 000 consumers to the electricity grid and constructed about 8 500 km of new distribution in addition to the solar home systems.