Bangladesh Study Reveals Vast Potential for Solar Energy Amidst Land Riches

A recent study conducted by the Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and the Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) has unveiled Bangladesh's substantial potential to harness energy, dispelling myths of land scarcity. Presented at a roundtable titled “: The Path of Sustainability for Bangladesh,” jointly organized by The Business Standard (TBS) and BELA, the findings emphasize various untapped resources across the country.

Hasan Mehedi, CEO of CLEAN, emphasized, “The amount of space needed to produce 100% of Bangladesh's from renewable sources is almost double the current requirement. By utilizing specific portions of Khas land, water bodies, and rooftops, the country can meet its entire electricity demand from renewable sources.”

The study, based on comprehensive GIS mapping, highlights that out of over 34.21 lakh acres of Khas land across 61 districts, approximately 4.03 lakh acres remain unallocated. This land could potentially accommodate ground-mounted solar photovoltaics capable of generating over 45,690.23 MW of electricity. Chattogram division leads with a capacity of 12,271.08 MW, followed by Sylhet contributing 1,500 MW.

Additionally, Bangladesh's rooftops, covering 4,712 million square meters, offer significant potential. Utilizing just 10% of this area could yield approximately 46,644 MW of power, with Dhaka alone capable of producing 10,779 MW.

The study also identifies that utilizing 10% of permanent water bodies, equivalent to 63,286.83 acres, could generate at least 21,877 MW. Dhaka emerges as a major contributor with 5,985 MW, complemented by Rangpur offering a minimum of 1,087 MW.

Looking ahead, Bangladesh aims to reach 10% renewable energy by 2025 and achieve complete renewable energy reliance by 2050, aligning with its strategic plans outlined in the 8th Five Year Plan, Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Vision 2041, and Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan.

The potential for agrivoltaics, combining agriculture with solar power generation, is also highlighted in the study. Bangladesh's arable Khas land, covering approximately 11.78 acres, could support 18,099 MW of agrovoltaics, with Rajshahi division leading at 2,640.38 MW.

Experts at the roundtable, including stakeholders from government, academia, and civil society, underscored the economic and technical viability of renewable energy. They called for strategic policy interventions, including the enactment of a dedicated Renewable Energy Act tailored to Bangladesh's unique context.


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