Bangladesh Electricity gets $515m boost to provide energy access

Bangladesh and the World Bank have signed a $515 million financing agreement to help 9 million people get access to reliable electricity.

The financing should help will strengthen Bangladesh’s Electricity Distribution Modernisation Programme aimed at increasing the delivery, reliability and efficiency of electricity supply and strengthen institutional capacity and readiness for its sustainable transformation.

The initiative will support the digitisation and modernisation of 25 rural electric cooperatives in Dhaka and Mymensingh Division and reduce electricity system losses by over 2%. The programme will increase Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board’s (BREB) delivery of electricity by 6,790 GWh while improving climate resilience of the electricity system.

“The government of Bangladesh has prioritised access to electricity in the last decade and now the entire population has access to electricity. The installed generation capacity increased five-fold to 25GW in the same period,” said Dandan Chen, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

“Through this programme, new and emerging technologies will further strengthen the efficiency and reliability of electric supply in the country to meet the need for faster economic growth,” Chen explained.

Through the BREB, the programme will support solar metering connections for more than100 customers, bringing 150 MW of new rooftop solar capacity onto the grid. It will improve and construct 31,000 km of distribution lines and deploy 200,000 advanced meters.

In addition, the programme will help strengthen Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) and distributed renewable energy through preparation of roadmaps for deployment. This will lead to an annual reduction of carbon emissions by 41,400 metric tons.

“The programme is aligned with the government’s Integrated Energy and Power Sector Masterplan, currently under preparation, which will help establish a low carbon energy system,” said Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.

“Generating clean and reliable electricity can help rural communities to increase productivity and cope with events brought on by climate change,” Yasmin said.

The agreement includes a $15m grant from the Clean Technology Fund to support BESS. The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and has a 35-year term, including a five-year grace period.

Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA programme totaling $14.7 billion. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed more than $37bn in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country since.