Bangladesh is considered as one of the fastest-growing economies in the Southern-Asia. According to World Bank report (2019), Bangladesh has made tremendous progress among the countries with the largest population without access to electricity. In 1971, about 3% of the total population of Bangladesh had access to electricity. According to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), this ratio has gone up to 59.6% in 2012, and almost 76% by 2016, 93.5% in 2019. The power generation capacity of Bangladesh is 21,419MW, with power concentrations increasing to 3.32 crore while the number of power plants reached 130 according to a report published in power cell data.

Energy act as a driving force to accelerate the economic development of a mid-income country like Bangladesh. Only the effective and efficient use of Bangladesh's energy sector is essential to meet the country's growing energy demands as well as to lift from a mid-income country to a developed country and fulfill the objectives of Vision-2021, SDG-2030, and Vision-2041.In the last six years, Bangladesh has been maintaining a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of between six and seven%in a bid to reach its aspired goal of becoming a developed economy by 2041.

Accordingly, Bangladesh's energy consumption has been increasing by more than eight%per year. Notably, electricity consumption has been increasing even faster at 10%a year as it is used in most economic activities. In the case of Bangladesh, access to electricity is indeed a composite indicator of development at the national, community, and household levels. The energy consumers in Bangladesh are mainly the industries and the residential sector, followed by the commercial and agricultural sectors.

We can categorize the energy sources as traditional energy and mainstream energy. Cow dung stick, cow dung cake, dry leaves, rice straw, fuelwood, rice husk, castor oil, occasionally ghee, mustard oil, kerosene lamp are used as traditional energy resources. According to a report entitled “ Monitoring the situation of vital statistics of Bangladesh (MSVSB), 2.9% of people of our country use kerosene lamps to fulfill their household energy demand.

In Bangladesh, coal, HFO, HSD, Hydro, LNG, LPG, NFG, solar, wind are considered mainstream energy resources. About 63% of energy demand is fulfilled by natural gas resources with 7% imported LNG, 10% is from diesel, 5% comes from coal, 3% of heavy oil and 3.3% is from renewable sources. Among other fuels- oil, coal, biomass, etc. are vital. We have a huge reserve of coal in our country, but coal is less produced as well as less used here. On the other hand, the natural gas reserve is not that substantial, but its production and consumption are the highest among the available resources. The energy demand is also fulfilled through imported oil and LPG. Moreover, the government has already started importing LNG to meet increasing gas demand. Biomass is being used as a lion’s share of energy and accounts for 27% of the primary energy sources. The energy demand is also fulfilled by importing electricity from India.  In this year, Bangladesh imported about 8.6 million metric tons of crude and refined Petroleum Products. About 45% of the country’s total oil is consumed in the transportation sector and 21% is used for irrigation. Besides, natural gas and crude oil, coal is mainly used as fuel in the brickfields and Thermal Power Plant. Moreover, power is also being generated by using Solar Home System (SHS) in on-grid and off-grid areas. The amount of power generation using the solar system is currently about 368 MW. Also, there are some poultry and dairy farms in which bio-gas plants are being set up and this biogas is used for cooking and power generation where the amount of power generation is about 1 MW. Steps have been taken to generate electricity by Biomass Gasification Method in the country Replacing gas, coal, and oil with renewable energy sources which is essential for fulfilling the targets of SDG and keeping up with the quality of the environment by preventing carbon emissions. Countries in the world like Sweden, Germany, China, and the USA are currently using renewable energy as a significant part of their energy demand. Bangladesh is also using renewable energy, but it’s very less than needed. The government has taken various steps to increase the use of renewable energy in the future, including solar home systems, solar irrigation systems, Rooppur nuclear projects, etc.

The estimated final consumption of total energy is around 55 MTOE( million tonnes of oil equivalent). The average increase in energy consumption is about 6% per annum. Per capita consumption of energy in Bangladesh is on an average 344 kg OE (Kilogram Oil Equivalent) and per capita generation of electricity is 510 kWh with access to electricity 95%, which is lower than those of South Asian neighboring countries. The development of the energy sector is the key factor for the continued development of the country. Bangladesh needs to emphasize the new exploration activities using the latest techniques to explore new mines. Apart from reducing dependence on natural gas and coal, it needs to be coordinated with the imported LNG and enhance the percentage of used oil and LPG; thereby Bangladesh will succeed in reaching its desired goal of economic development.

About the Author: Ms. Aivee Akther has completed her Bachelor's in Environmental Science and Disaster Management discipline. Currently, she is working as a researcher and her area of interest encompasses Climate Action, Clean Energy, Water & Sanitation, Waste Management, Antibiotic Resistance. Besides, She is an Environmentalist, Activist, Youth advocate on water and climate, also Founding member of the Energy Environment of Bangladesh course.

Co-author: Mr. Shadman Sakeef

Editor name: Madiha Razzaq