Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The World Bank (WB) has approved $55 million to expand use of clean renewable energy in rural areas of Bangladesh where grid electricity cannot reach easily.
This additional financing to the Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED II) Project will install 1,000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids, and about 4 million improved cookstoves in rural areas.
The project, including the additional financing, will enable about 10 million people living in villages, shoals, and islands to access electricity and use energy efficient cookstoves. These interventions will help the country reduce carbon emissions.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero-interest loans, has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent, according to a WB statement.
“We are proud to be helping Bangladesh increase access to clean electricity through solar power. Today, the country has the one of the world’s largest domestic solar power programs, covering 14 percent of the population,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.
“Building on its success in using solar energy to provide electricity in rural areas, this financing will also scale up other clean renewable energy options.”
The project has already built 10 solar mini-grids in remote areas, including islands and shoals to provide grid quality electricity. This additional financing will help construct another 30 solar mini-grids. These will provide about 28,000 connections to households and businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
The financing will also help increase use of solar irrigation pumps, a low-cost technology that is well suited to the country’s flat terrain and abundant sunshine. This switch from diesel pumps will decrease greenhouse gas emissions and save foreign exchange by reducing the government’s subsidy on diesel imports.
“In Bangladesh, indoor air pollution causes thousands of deaths per year, mostly women and children. Traditional cookstoves used in rural areas is a major contributor to this,” said Amit Jain, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
Since 2002, the WB has been helping the government expand renewable energy programs. In the energy sector, the WB has ongoing support of over $1.6 billion in Bangladesh covering generation, transmission, distribution, and renewable energy.
Additionally, on February 27, 2018 the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board has approved an additional $20 million to support the energy efficient cookstoves project, which is their first approved cookstoves project.