The Dhaka-based think tank made the recommendation at a virtual press conference
- Shifting from coal to LNG just replaces one fossil fuel with another
- The country is 40% over its power-generation capacity
- If coal is abandoned, total generation capacity would be 31,881 MW by 2025 and the reserve margin would be 27.7%
- The government could save Tk25,650 crore by abandoning coal-based power plants right now
- There are 22 coal-based projects with a combined power generation capacity of 23,236 MW
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) should not be an alternative to coal. Shifting from coal to LNG will just be a move from one form of fossil fuel to another–which also pollutes the environment, the Centre for Policy Dialogue has said.
"The government should redirect its focus from fossil fuels towards clean energy and it should not only abandon coal but also create space for renewable energy," CPD's Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem recommended at a virtual press conference on Monday.
The Dhaka-based think tank organised the media briefing called "Abandoning Coal in Power Generation: Government Initiatives and the Way Forward" following a government initiative to abandon a majority of the coal projects and the revelation of the government's major policy by The Business Standard in report titled "Bangladesh plans to abandon coal, go for LNG" published on August 25.
In a powerpoint presentation, Golam Moazzem said the ministry's initiative could not be fully appreciated as it is still not targeting clean energy based power generation by abandoning coal.
Presenting the current scenario of 40% over power-generation capacity, Golam Moazzem said that there is no need to rush to select LNG as an alternative for power generation.
"If coal is abandoned, the total generation capacity will be 31,881 MW by 2025 and the reserve margin would be 27.7%, which is sizable enough for a country like Bangladesh," he said.
At the same time, the government could save Tk25,650 crore by abandoning coal-based power plants right now.
Currently, there are 22 coal-based projects–public and private–with a combined power generation capacity of 23,236 MW.
Meanwhile, upholding the country's prospect of renewable energy, Golam Moazzem said that if the abandoned coal-based power plants are shifted to solar power plants, those plants would generate a total of 4,779 MW of electricity.
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow at CPD, made the concluding remarks at the briefing.
He said that an investment in the power sector takes place on a long-term basis and so the planning also has to be for a long term and that must start right now.
"The investment that we are making today is a sunk cost. So, the planning should be taken now to reduce this sunk cost. Because we become hostages once we make such investments," added Professor Mustafizur Rahman.
CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun moderated the briefing.
Responding to a question about the future of the coal projects which have already got an investment, she said, "When we talk about sustainable development and environment, we think about the impact of infrastructure on generation to generation."
"So, we should not think about the investment that has already been made in coal projects. Rather, we should think about the long-term impact of these polluting projects on our life, health and economy in the long run," she added.
Dr Fahmida Khatun said, "In the pre-Covid-19 period, we ignored many things in the development model. But in the post-Covid-19 period, the development model should be on the basis of the 'Build Back Better' theme that focuses on environment-friendly deployment."