Renewable Energy Development
Cabinet okays draft bill for separate bodyManjurul Ahsan
The Cabinet on Monday approved a draft of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority Bill 2012 to promote environment-friendly energy technologies and practices and to reduce the existing dependence on fossil fuel.
The Power Division placed the draft at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet in the secretariat, presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
‘The Cabinet has given the final approval to the draft of the law already vetted by the law ministry. An authority will now be formed to promote development and utilisation of renewable energy,’ Cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting.
According to the draft of the Bill, the authority will also facilitate and ensure proper implementation of efficient energy technologies, practices and energy conservation activities.
The proposed authority will extends its objective to ensure standardization of technologies, equipment and appliances as needed for a sustainable energy system.
Musharraf said it had now become the global practice to expand use of renewable energy, like biomass, bio-fuel, wind power, solar energy and hydro-power and to reduce dependence on fossil fuel.
The authority will be formed with a maximum number of five member officers led by a chief executive which will have the power to sign deals with other agencies and organisations and take loans, the Cabinet mentioned.
The chief executive will be the chairman of a board comprised of up to 15 directors including the members of the authority, as per the draft.
The authority will be under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
Experts of the power and energy sector welcomed the government’s move.
Ijaz Hossain, a professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said, ‘The government has made a commendable step towards developing renewable energy.’
Saiful Haque, a professor at the Renewable Energy Institute of Dhaka University who is also the general secretary of the Renewable Energy Society, told New Age, ‘It was a much awaited event. We hope that SREDA will play a role to successfully coordinate and monitor the renewable energy activities.’
He urged the authority to incorporate professionals from different relevant disciplines including the National Board of Revenue, administration, banking, academics in the sector, legal experts and so on to run the authority effectively.
The initiative was taken formally five years back to promote use of renewable energy under the Renewable Energy Development Authority whose name was changed to Sustainable Energy Development Authority. Finally, it took the name of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority before the Cabinet passed the proposal, said Power Division officials.
The government in 2010 created a wing under the Power Division led by an additional secretary to establish the SREDA and also to deal with the functions of the proposed authority.
At present various organizations, including the Power Development Board, Rural Electrification Board, Local Government Engineering Department and other government agencies, private sector companies and NGOs are working on promotion of renewable energy in the country. But there is no central authority to monitor or coordinate their activities.
According to the Power Division, the government planned to add 500 megawatts of renewable energy to the country’s power generation within the next two years. But due to the absence of a core authority, the activities in this sector are not getting the necessary momentum.
However, the country’s combined electricity generation capacity, using renewable energy like sunlight or wind power, has reached around 70 megawatts.
According to the draft of the Act, to promote energy efficiency in new buildings, SREDA shall develop and recommend the National Energy Conservation Building Guidelines, prescribing measures for efficient use of energy in a new building or building complex.
They may include general measures applicable to all buildings, and a variety of recommended measures that may be appropriate and economically beneficial, depending on the specific conditions of the individual building and its location.
Each ministry or large government organization shall identify a focal point for energy management within the organization and for facilitating interaction with SREDA, and each focal point shall be responsible for providing a report of the organization’s energy consumption, conservation measures and reductions achieved each year to the SREDA.
According to the draft the SREDA is responsible for preparation of an educational curriculum on efficient use of energy and energy conservation for educational institutions, boards and universities or autonomous bodies, and coordination with them for inclusion of such curricula in their programmes.
The draft also said the SREDA shall establish a web site accessible to entrepreneurs and operators as well as to anyone interested and publish the relevant items of information there.
There shall be a fund for the authority to be called Sustainable Energy Development Authority Fund to promote the development and utilisation of renewable energy in the country.
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