Around 5,000 megawatt (MW) of electricity could be saved in five years if efficient use of electricity in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors could be ensured through introducing standard energy-efficient appliances. About US$ 5 billion investment would be required to generate 5,000MW of electricity. On the other hand, fuel-efficient power generation can help restrict carbon emissions to a great extent. But required laws and regulations needed to be finalized and then all the stakeholders should start working in a well-coordinated manner.
Engr. Nurul Aktar, Director of Energypac, said this in an exclusive interview with Energy& Power Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain.
For achieving sustainable supply of quality power to all, energy efficiency and energy conservation are essential. How do you assess Bangladesh’s preparation in this regard?
Bangladeshis are conscious about sustainable energy supply and also required knowledge about it. But there has been too much talk about it and few actions are visible to achieve these. All out action programs are under implementation for ensuring power supply to all. But for sustainability, efficiency needs to be ensured at all segments of energy value chain from power generation, transmission and distribution to end users. There exist many issues in the formulation of appropriate policies and implementation strategy.
A benchmark needs to be set for the extent of power and energy use by textile, readymade garments (RMG), Cement, Steel and other industries. BERC and SREDA must work together for implementing the benchmark. For this, energy auditing should start without delay for assessing how additional power and energy are being used in the industrial sector. But the guidelines for energy auditing could not be finalized yet. Standards needed to be set for the level of electricity use in domestic and commercial sectors. Star-labeling must be ensured after setting standards for all energy appliances like air conditioners, freezes, fans, lights and others.
Without wasting time any more, all these needed to be done in a well-coordinated manner. Otherwise, the national vision of sustainable supply to all cannot be achieved.
Energy efficiency roadmap has already been finalized. It states of achieving 20% efficiency by 2030. Standards for domestic, commercial and industrial uses of power have been finalized under this plan. Regulations for energy auditing are being finalized. Is there any problem at this stage?
I have already mentioned that there exist policies and regulations. But the pace of implementation is not appreciable as yet. Energy Auditing is essential for achieving the milestones of energy efficiency roadmap. But it could not be started yet. Chief Inspector of Electricity should be empowered for championing different aspects of policing energy efficiency in addition to his present responsibilities. Now we have to see the extent of electricity conservation in specific areas. In my opinion, the highest savings of electricity can be achieved in domestic sector.
Industrial sector is the next where substantial power can be conserved. In my opinion, 25-30% power can be saved. Sizeable investment needs to be made for this. Commodity labeling needed to be done for ensuring energy efficiency — 20% conservation can be done this way. Star-labeling needed to be ensured for all appliances used in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors, including lifts, motors, air conditioners and fans.
How would you evaluate the plan for energy efficiency and its achievement?
It will be possible to conserve up to 5,000 MW-equivalent of power conservation if energy conservation program is appropriately implemented. It requires US$ 5 billion investment for generating 5,000 MW of electricity. I firmly believe that within this time, 15% energy conservation in the commercial sector and 20% in the industrial sector can be achieved. But efficiency needs to be achieved at all levels from generation through transmission and distribution to end users.
Star-labeling and star-marking of appliances after setting standards are not easy tasks. The reasons are that same products are being manufactured locally and some are also imported. How can this be done?
No doubt that this work has challenges. But right policy and appropriate implementation strategy would definitely make this possible to achieve. BSTI has to do this under the supervision of the Power Division. It is possible to achieve the target in 5 years. First we have to star-label the domestic products. All energy and power appliances must be brought under label 3 and 5. Industries failing to comply with producing appliances as per standards like incandescent lamps, high-voltage fans, non-inverter air conditioners and freezes, and inefficient machines must be phased out.
Alongside standardizing and labeling of appliances no new connections should be given to any domestic, commercial and industrial user not complying with the above. I consider this very important for achieving the energy efficiency. I have doubt that SREDA with present manpower resources can achieve these. A separate division may be created under power division for championing these. This separate division under the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources (MPEMR) would coordinate all works. Otherwise, all entities working for energy efficiency and conservation cannot develop capacity.
You are talking about creation of a separate division, but different entities under MPEMR are doing the works. Why you are suggesting for a separate division?
Please note that the priority of Power Division is planning and constructing new power plants, expanding and modernizing transmission and distribution networks. Side by side they are also working on development and use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation. I think the later works have lesser priorities. Like India and other countries, a separate division must be created under the ministry for renewable energy and energy efficiency. SREDA and other entities would work under this. Like India, an Energy Efficiency Bureau may be created under this division.
Special budgetary allocation must be made for energy efficiency. SREDA alone cannot do these works from the center. The administration in 64 districts, 480 Upazillas and 4,800 Union parishads must be integrated under energy efficiency program. This will assist in implementing the energy efficiency program at local level.
I believe that creation of new division would give new dimension to the development of renewable energy, achievement of energy conservation and efficiency.
You mentioned about energy-efficient buildings. Where we stand now in this regard? What should be done?
SREDA is working to finalize energy efficiency building code. Green hotel should also be included. I would suggest including double layer glasses in addition to the provision for using daylight.This can hold the cooling heat. This would significantly reduce the electricity consumption for cooling.
Which areas of the sector should be a subject of research? How can this be done?
Bangladesh Energy & Power Research Council has been setup. They should give priority in research on energy efficiency and conservation in addition to other areas of research.
Energy efficiency is a global priority. Bangladesh is working on it. What is your opinion?
Bangladesh is still at the primary stage of industrialization. Old and outdated equipment and machineries are mostly in use till now. Modern textile and steel industries are being set up now. We have to make huge investment for modernizing these industries. IDCOL and BIFFL are making investment. It is not possible to make all industries energy-efficient with limited resources of two companies only. The government should instruct all commercial banks to provide soft term low interest loans for this.
Furnace and boilers also have significant energy consumption. Energy auditing must assess efficiency of this use. These must be standardization. The average energy efficiency in power generation is 32%. This must be increased to 50%. In my opinion, 25% energy conservation can be achieved in 5 years through enhancing efficiency.
You are producing energy efficient bulbs and fans. These are relatively expensive. How the users can be benefited from using these?
Please note that investment in energy efficient appliances is like investment in savings certificates. Let us give an example of energy efficient fans. Normal fans use 100 watt. Energy efficient fans for given duty use 70 watts. An energy-efficient fan costs Tk. 2,500. Around 20% of the domestic power load is for fans. Energy-efficient fans can save 30-35% of power used. An energy-efficient fan if used for 15 hours a day can save Tk. 1,188 annually. In two and half years, the price of the fan would be recovered. Additionally, substantial amount of electricity would be saved.
There are practices of providing incentives elsewhere in the world to encourage energy efficiency. What Bangladesh should do in this regard?
Bangladesh must introduce financial and commercial incentives for encouraging energy efficiency like other countries. These should be in the form of city tax and income tax relief. The users of efficient technologies should also be provided with green certificates.
Energy efficient appliances would be costlier than ordinary ones. Tax relief must be given for production and import of the appliances. On the other hand, a 5-year tax holiday should be given to local industries producing energy-efficient appliances.
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