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Friday, July 11, 2008
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CA calls for austerity in power, energy use

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday appealed for austerity in electricity and energy consumption by using energy-saving light bulbs and applying newer technologies for an optimum utilisation of the nation's scarce natural resources.

He called for avoiding misuse of gas, electricity and water, applying energy-saving technologies in industries and utilising renewable energy resources like solar and wind power.

The head of the caretaker government made the call while inaugurating a two-day national workshop and exhibition on “Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Programmes” organised by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

He said the Power Division is preparing a draft Energy Conservation Act, which will require inclusion of necessary provisions in the building code for ensuring efficient use and conservation of energy in building complexes.

The CA further said the government is now considering adoption of a comprehensive renewable energy policy. He expressed his optimism that this would pave the way for removal of barriers to promotion of renewable energy technologies in Bangladesh.

Some 50 percent of peak-hour load shedding can be managed by using compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). A CFL consumes one fifth of the electricity of an incandescent bulb, the function was told.

As much as 720 megawatts of power can be immediately saved through conserving electricity.

To encourage the nation in practising austerity in the use of electricity, the CA mentioned that he has started using less electricity in his office.

The CA said he has also asked all concerned in his office to raise thermostat to 24 degree Celsius in air-conditioner to save electricity. Though some of his colleagues have complained of feeling hot for raising temperature in air-conditioner, he remained persistent.

The CA informed the function that he has directed the cabinet secretary to convert incandescent bulb (IB) into energy-efficient and energy-saving compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) in all government offices.

He told the function that less use of power and energy would not hamper comfort or efficiency.

“Let us resolve we will conserve energy --- and we can do,” he said in his call.

Prof Ijaz Hossain of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) presented the keynote paper on “Enhancing Energy Security”. He said country's energy security is greatly threatened due to rising oil prices, depleting natural reserves and widespread inefficiencies.

German Ambassador in Bangladesh Frank Meyke, UNDP Resident Representative Renata Lok Dessallien and the chairman of Bangladesh Heritage Foundation also spoke at the function.

Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser for Power and Energy Ministry Prof M Tamim chaired the inaugural session. Advisers, special assistants to the chief adviser, energy experts, diplomats and distinguished personalities were present.

The CA pointed out that promotion of energy conservation and renewable energy technologies has become a global trend in recent years due to phenomenal rises in price of petroleum products, growing awareness about the impact of global warming and climate change and fast depletion of natural resources across the world.

Bangladesh can't be exception to this global trend, he said.

Fakhruddin said energy conservation is considered as the fifth fuel: Complement to coal, natural gas, hydropower and nuclear energy. It reduces investment needs in new exploration and generation and thereby saves valuable resources. It also scales down environmental pollution.

“We can increase conservation of energy through standardisation of our equipment and appliances and promotion of energy-efficient technologies.”

As Bangladesh has been blessed with adequate sunlight throughout the year, the government has undertaken several programmes for off-grid electrification through solar-home system, the CA said about one of the innovations in hand.

He informed that over 250,000 solar-home systems have so far been installed in remote rural areas, and the government is providing grants, soft loans and technical assistance for the promotion of solar-home system besides reducing import duty from 5 percent to 3 percent.

A 250-kilowatt rice-husk-based power plant has been set up in Gazipur, he said, adding that the country has potential for about 300 megawatts of electricity from rice-husk.

He also informed that a total of 60,000 domestic biogas plants would be installed under a programme, which would reduce the use of firewood and cow dung for cooking purpose and help increase fertility of the soil.

The CA later opened the exhibition styled “Let there be light” under Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Programmes on the hotel premises.

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