A TIMELY call by experts at a roundtable the other day for alternative energy sources, undoubtedly, remind the planners both in the public and private sector of the urgency of expediting the process to undertake adequate plans and programmes on adoption of renewable energy technologies for meeting the growing demands for electricity. Renewable energy is needed for covering country's remote corners with power as conventional energy sources such as gas and coal in Bangladesh would be depleting quickly. Held on 'Renewable Energy Technologies', the largely attended roundtable was told by experts that various programmes on promoting and expanding use of renewable technologies should be coordinated for providing the people with sustainable energy across the country.
The experts engaged in various projects on alternative energy sources in the country and also in this region came out with their valuable suggestions with a view to catering to the pressing need of power that has emerged as vital for the national economy and development as its all-pervasive demand everywhere in industry and agriculture is growing day by day. As alternative energy sources, biogas, solar systems, wind energy etcetera are now being popularly practiced in many countries. Bangladesh is also not lagging behind as at present it has 24,000 biogas plants though there are potentials of setting up of over 3 million plants. There is also another target of setting up 200,000 solar systems in the country by 2010 as many private organisations in close cooperation with the government and foreign countries have been working with all sincerity and determination.
A number of organisations like German Technical Cooperation and private organisation 'Grameen Shakti' – now known for the tasks in the countryside – joined hands with The New Nation in organising the high profile conference on renewable energy at this crucial time as Bangladesh, like many other countries in this region, is in dire need of energy as the prospect of depletion of other conventional energy sources have caused serious concern both locally and globally. An official survey conducted in Bangladesh, in fact, has served as an eye-opener with its startling revelation that country's 70 percent areas could be covered by electricity with whatever available conventional energy sources we do have. It is not only Bangladesh, many other energy-hungry nations are frantically looking for alternative sources as questions like using nuclear energy are coming up for active consideration in many countries – Iran, India and others. Bangladesh, too, is actively considering to reactivate its almost forgotten Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant – initiated during the Pakistani days – possibly with China's assistance.
The Energy Adviser Mahmudur Rahman himself came out with a suggestion while addressing the roundtable that 'jatrova' cultivation on commercial basis for producing bio-diesel as substitute of petroleum oil as India has already taken successfully a huge project in this regard, can yield good result as alternative energy source. It is heartening to note that the government would form a sustainable energy development agency to promote both conventional and renewable sources of energy keeping in view their accessibility and commercial viability.