The Government of Bangladesh and the world Bank signed a $515 million financing agreement for the country’s electricity distribution modernization program which will support the digitization and modernization of 25 rural electricity cooperatives or Palli Bidyut Samitis in Dhaka and Mymensingh division.
The funding aims to increase the electricity supply of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) by 6,790 GWh while improving the climate resilience of the electricity system.
The program, aligned with the government’s integrated power and energy sector master plan, will help establish a low-carbon energy system. Goals are to support solar metering connections for over 100 customers, bring 150 MW of new rooftop solar capacity to the grid, build 31,000 km of distribution lines and deploy 200,000 advanced meters .
Strengthening Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) and Distributed Renewable Energy through the preparation of roadmaps will also be planned for deployment under the program.
“Through this program, new and emerging technologies will further enhance the efficiency and reliability of the country’s electricity supply to meet the need for faster economic growth,” said Dandan Chen, Acting Director of the World Bank for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The agreement has a 35-year term, including a five-year grace period. Bangladesh has the largest ongoing IDA program of the International Development Association of the bank, totaling $14.7 billion.
Chen said Bangladesh has prioritized access to electricity over the past decade, and now the entire population has access to electricity. Installed generation capacity increased fivefold to 25 GW over the same period.
Bangladesh aimed to install 2.47 GW of renewable energy projects in 2021, and much of the capacity would come from solar and wind power sources. Rural Power Company, the state-owned rural electrification company, had solicited proposals for the feasibility study to develop a 100 MW solar project in Jamalpur. The project was to be implemented under the Indian Line of Credit (LoC-III).
In 2020, the Asian Development Bank invested $17.7 million in a 35 MW solar project, Bangladesh’s first private sector solar project.