The government is going to issue bond amounting to $1 billion soon to raise funds for the power and energy sector, said the energy adviser yesterday.
Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, power and energy adviser to the prime minister, said the interest rate would be 7 to 8 percent.
“We have already invested a huge amount and we need more money in this field. So, you can purchase this bond and engage in Bangladesh's development,” he said.
He spoke at a seminar titled “Smart Energy - the Foundation for National Growth” on the last day of a two-day Convention of Non-Resident Bangladeshi Engineers at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.
A bond is a debt instrument issued by a company for a period of more than one year with the purpose of raising capital by borrowing. Usually, a bond issuer is promised repayment of the principal along with interest on a specified date.
At the seminar, NRBs specialising in the fields of power and energy urged the government to use more solar power, explore gas fields in the deep sea and extract coal.
They said it would not be wise to keep these resources unused for a long time and the country should use those as early as possible for national development.
The NRBs also sought support from the public and private sectors to help build the country.
Sohail Hasnie, principal energy specialist of energy division at the Central and West Asian Department of Asian Development Bank, said the government needs to take a project on solar power to save foreign currency.
If 10 percent of the fuel-fired cars move to solar power, they will save about $500 million yearly, he said.
In reply, the energy adviser said Bangladesh is one of the leading countries when it comes to vehicles running on solar power. The government is planning to undertake a project to set up solar power-based recharging stations for these vehicles.
He said the government had already undertaken several projects to increase the use of solar power.
There are 10 lakh three-wheeler auto-rickshaws in Bangladesh which run on batteries charged with solar power, said Md Ziaur Rahman Khan, a professor of the electrical and electronic engineering department at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, citing a study. If one such three-wheeler consumes even only one kilowatt-hour power for recharging, then 50 percent of the vehicles will need about 500 megawatts of electricity every day for recharge purposes, said Khan.
“If we modify the charging system, 10 to 15 percent power can be saved,” he said.
Ghulam Mohammed Alomgir, chairman of Max Group, said Bangladesh has solved the problem of power generation. But 80 to 90 percent of the power is generated from imported oil, which is a risky option, he said.
“We need to explore gas and coal mines and use it for the development of the country,” he said. Max Group runs two power plants.
He said a few years ago, there was a huge scarcity of power, but now everybody was talking about smart power systems. “This is the progress in this field.”
Khandakar Abdus Saleque, an energy expert based in Australia, urged the government to extract coal.
The conference, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was jointly organised by the Bridge to Bangladesh, the Economic Relations Division and the Access to Information programme. Some 300 NRB engineers attended the event.