Energy experts at a webinar on Power System Master Plan advised the government to lay more emphasis on the development of renewable energy and revise the current master plan in an integrated manner keeping all options open for primary energy sources.
"We should give more priority to renewable energy like neighbouring India," energy expert Prof Ijaz Hossain said at the webinar titled: "EP Debate: Is It Necessary to Review the PSMP 2016" on Saturday evening.
He said though he was initially confused about the development of renewable energy, now he is fully convinced about the fastest-growing capacity of solar power to meet energy needs with its technological advancement.
With Energy and Power Magazine editor Mollah Amzad Hossain conducting the seminar, the virtual function was also addressed by Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain, former member of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Mizanur Rahman and former Petrobangla official Khandaker Abdus Saleque and Dr Mushfiqur Rahman.
Prof Ijaz, also the dean of engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), observed that advancement in energy storage technologies, specially the battery system, has now removed the limitations of solar power.
"Solar power's advancement is just like advancement of mobile telephone. Some 10 years back, nobody imagined that everybody will have smartphones in their hands."
So, in near future, solar power might claim the position of cheapest energy, he added.
He also found a mismatch between the growth of power sector and GDP growth. "GDP growth is absolutely missing while calculating the growth of power sector."
He said the power sector has been growing fast but no demand is coming from the industrial sector to consume this increased generation.
"Unless a robust industrial growth, growth in power sector won't sustain depending only on residential demand," he said adding, "I see a very disastrous signal with the surplus in electricity generation."
Mohammad Hossain said initiative to revise the power system master plan 2016 was taken up by the government as it always believes such plan is dynamic and not a static one.
Mizanur Rahman said the cost of electricity from renewable sources is coming down substantially with the invention of new technologies and now the generation cost of solar power is declining day by day.
"Solar power generation cost is now lower than liquid fuel-fired power generation," he said adding that the cost will come down further with its growing efficiency level as new technologies are being invented.
He said per unit electricity cost of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will be Tk 5 although it should have been much lower.
Khandaker Abdus Saleque said there is no scope to be much ambitious with the power and energy sector. But every option of primary energy source should remain open for Bangladesh rather than preferring any particular option.
He said efficiency and technological advancement should get priority in choosing the primary energy source for power generation.
Mushfiqur Rahman said local coal extraction is not a major problem in Bangladesh. He observed that land acquisition has been the biggest problem in implementation of coal extraction project.