Dhaka (Bangladesh): The new Bangladeshi Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Nasrul Hamid, has assured MPs from the Climate Parliament at a recent meeting that the Ministry will soon ensure the implementation of SREDA (Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority).
SREDA represents a path-breaking initiative for the country, as the Authority will be the focal point for the promotion and development of all sustainable energy, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation. Climate Parliament MPs played a significant role in the passing of the SREDA Bill in November 2012. However, SREDA is yet to be implemented as an organisation and its roadmap - organogram, budgets and activities – are not clear, in spite of the bills passage over one and a half years ago. The Climate Parliament MPs also submitted a signed letter to the Minister on 27 March, outlining the issues, expectations and demands from the newly formed Bangladesh Government, to boost renewable energy development and ensure energy access in the country.
Sharing the concerns of the Climate Parliament MPs about the delay in the implementation of SREDA, the State Minister Mr. Nasrul Hamid asked government officials to prepare a roadmap for meeting renewable energy targets in Bangladesh by 2020. The Minister was categorical in his saying that ‘the budget preparation for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral resources will take into consideration this roadmap to prepare the budget for SREDA and this should reflect in the national budget allocation of 2014-15’. The Bangladesh Parliament will approve the country’s budget 2014-15 in its forthcoming parliamentary session in June. Thus, the Climate Parliament MPs’ meeting with the new Power and Energy Minister and pursuing the implementation of SREDA acquires a special and timely significance.
The Bangladesh Government has declared a vision of providing “affordable and reliable electricity to all by 2021”. The country’s renewable energy policy 2008 has put an ambitious target of 5% of total power generation from renewable sources by 2015 and 10% of total power generation from renewable sources by 2020.
In the meeting, officials apprised the Minister and the Climate Parliament MPs that a number of initiatives are taking place in Bangladesh in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. A roadmap for energy efficiency is in place. Wind and solar mapping is also an ongoing activity. He mentioned that with the current installed capacity and planned capacity additions, Bangladesh should be able to meet 2015 targets. Meeting the targets for 2020, however, might be an issue.
In a related meeting of the Climate Parliament Bangladesh Steering Committee on the same day, the MPs who were meeting for the first time after the formation of the government, felt a need to continue with their activities on SREDA before the arrival of the new budget. The Steering Committee, which was also re-constituted during the meeting with some new MPs, decided to hold a round-table consultation in early May with the Minister, Ministry officials, government and other experts on SREDA. In this proposed meeting, the road maps and the budget requirements for SREDA will be concretely discussed and formulated, so that MPs can take this up further during the budget session of the parliament.
In Bangladesh, Climate Parliament network of MPs have been championing the SREDA since the formation of the network. They have organised meetings in November 2012 and July 2013 on ‘Renewable Energy & Climate Policy in Bangladesh’ and ‘Implementation of SREDA Act’ at Parliament Bhaban for an effective planning, budget, administrative support and programme for the renewable energy development in the country, in consonance with the Bangladesh Renewable Energy Policy and SREDA Act. In August 2013, they made a representation to the Standing Committee meeting on the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources for speedier and effective implementation of the SREDA. In October 2013, they submitted a detailed letter to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and Ministry of Finance highlighting the need for intervention on various issues related to SREDA.
The Climate Parliament network of MPs has also decided to re-constitute their Steering Committee that was initially formed in 2012. The new Steering Committee consists of Mr. Tanvir Shakeel Joy and Mr. Saber Chowdhury (Advisors), Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak and Mr. Abdullah Al-Islam Jacob (Patrons), Mr. Nahim Razzaq (Convener), Ms. Mahjabeen Moshad (Co-convener), Mr. Razee Fakhrul, Mr. Pir Mezba, Mr. Golam Farooq Prince, Mr. AKM Arusunal Chowdhury Duke, Mr. Tarana Halim and Mr. Moinuddin Khan Badal (Members).
MP Mr. Nahim Razzaq, the new convener of Bangladesh Climate Parliament group said that the Government is taking a number of steps but more needs to be done. A roundtable of the Climate Parliament network and relevant ministries will further deliberate on these issues.
Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak, presently the State Minister of Post, Telecommunication & Information Technology and previously the co-convener of the Bangladesh Climate Parliament Group highlighted that Bangladesh has a vision for electricity for all by 2020. It has also started investing in coal based power plants. However, in view of the rising costs of coal and impacts of climate change, Bangladesh also needs to utilize natural and clean source of energy.
Mr. Tanvir Shakeel Joy, while proposing the name of the new convener, highlighted the activities of the Climate Parliament network of MPs in Bangladesh and regionally. He also explained the ambitions and vision of Climate Parliament Bangladesh and expressed his deep commitment towards the future pathways.
The meeting was also attended by Mukul Sharma, Sumedha Basu (Climate Parliament) and Donna Bugby-Smith (UNDP).