Bangladesh’s upper court tells government to get serious about renewables

Responding to a petition seeking an order to protect vulnerable wildlife habitats, the High Court of Bangladesh has told policymakers in Dhaka to draw up a plan for 100% clean energy.

The High Court of Bangladesh has responded to a petition seeking to protect the country’s wetland habitats by calling on the government to prepare a masterplan to make the nation 100% powered by renewables.

Citing the example set by Germany in raising the proportion of renewable energy generation in its national power mix, the court said Dhaka should formulate a renewable energy act and establish a renewables ministry and a renewable energy commission, to expedite clean power generation.

The court issued the directives as it responded to a writ petition filed by the Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) which successfully sought an order to save Bangladeshi wetlands.

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“Presently … fossil fuel is considered as very harmful for climate,” said the high court in its verdict on the BELA petition. “The developed world has stopped using fossil fuel [sic] and engaged in generation of renewable energy as an alternative.”

The Bangladeshi renewables industry applauded the court’s observation and said clean power lacked impetus because it had not received enough promotion by the government.

Responsibility for clean power deployment currently sits with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, which still overwhelmingly focuses on conventional, fossil fuel power generation, according to renewables-industry professionals.

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“We have long been demanding to establish a separate ministry to promote [the] renewable energy sector,” said Dipal C Barua, president of the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association, in response to one of the points raised by the court, and he added, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority wing of the power ministry was not sufficient to drive the nation’s energy transition.

Barua lauded a recent government decision to remove permission for ten coal-fired power plants and welcomed an ambition, announced by the power minister, for the country to generate 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2041.

Vulnerable

The issue has gained added attention as Bangladeshi is currently chairing the Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 nations disproportionately affected by global heating.

Bangladesh’s current five-year-plan – its eighth, which started this year – has also pledged aggressive funding and policy support for renewables.

At present, around 3% of Bangladesh’s energy generation capacity is accounted for by its 766.49 MW of clean energy project capacity.

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