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Govt land in Dhaka div can generate over 20,000MW

Jun 12, 2024

| Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh can generate 20,555 megawatts of electricity by 2050 using a very small portion of available khas land in the Dhaka division alone, according to a joint study released on Wednesday by the Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network and the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.

The study was conducted between 2020 and 2022 with information collected from official sources, including the deputy commissioner’s office in Dhaka, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, and other relevant offices. Of the solar power potential, ground-mounted solar photovoltaics accounted for 1,367MW while rooftop solar for 10,779MW, floating for 5,985MW, and agrovoltaics 2,424MW, according to the study. ‘The objective of the study is to show what can be achieved if good will exist to use actual solar potential,’ said Hasan Mehedi, chief executive officer of Clean. Over 1,374MW can be generated if only 5.3 per cent or 3,388.7 acres, of the khas land available in the 13 districts of Dhaka is allocated for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic.

Dhaka division has more than 274,172 acres of khas land, the study said, adding that 80,241 acres of the khas land were unallocated. Ground-mounted and floating solar require 2.45-2.49 acres to set up 1MW of solar PV plants, while rooftop solar requires 9918.04–10,080 square metres of roof to install 1MW of solar photovoltaics. In the Dhaka division, 1,079 million square metres of rooftops are available. Using only 10 per cent or 1.07 crore square metres of space, it could generate 10,779MW of solar energy, the study said. Dhaka has the most solar rooftop potential, followed by Narayanganj.

Only 10 percent of water bodies in the Dhaka division could generate at least 5,985MW, the study said. There are 148235 acres of water bodies in the Dhaka division. Tangail has the maximum floating solar capacity with at least 2,196.52MW while Madaripur has the minimum floating solar capacity with at least 0.30 MW.

The area of arable khas land in the Dhaka division is 136,289.64 acres. Agrovoltaics could be installed on all crops, but the study considered only vegetable gardens for their agrovoltaic potential, which is 11 percent of the total arable khas land. About 2,400MW of electricity is possible to generate from the vegetable gardens, given that 6.17 acres of land are required for setting up 1 MW of agrophotovoltaics.

Kishoreganj has the highest agrovoltaic potential of at least 526.19MW while Narayanganj has the least potential of 2.34MW. The study pointed out a number of challenges to using khas land, including disputes among government offices over ownership of the land. The study proposed forming a task force for the demarcation of the land. The study proposed a long-term policy so that agrovoltaics give farmers an annual income besides cropping. The study also proposed a benefit-sharing guideline so that landowners get a regular share of the profit.

Dhaka division’s total land area is 42,05,290 acres, including 29, 44,040 acres. Tangail has the biggest land area with 7,72,117 acres while Narayanganj has the smallest land area with 1,25,911 acres. Dhaka division is home to 44.22 million people. Renewable energy accounts for less than five percent of Bangladesh’s current installed generation capacity of over 30,000MW. Nine more solar power plants, whose capacity is 389.5 MW are under construction and planning now. In the Dhaka division, there are 19 power plants based on gas, 14 power plants based on furnace oil, two based on dual-fuel, four on diesel, one on gas, and only one based on solar.

The power plants generated 2,123.14 crore units of electricity in 2021–2022. Dhaka zone supplies 24.36 percent of the electricity produced. Dhaka division consumes 33.7 percent of the total generated electricity in Bangladesh. Dhaka consumes 5,276.51MW in peak hours and 26.224 million units of electricity annually. Bangladesh announced it would source 40 percent of its electricity generated in 2041 from renewable sources. ‘The study proves that land scarcity holding back solar development is a myth,’ said Mehedi.

 News Link: Govt land in Dhaka div can generate over 20,000MW   

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