Slow progress of solar power projects irks Nasrul

DHAKA : State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid has expressed his frustration over the slow progress in the implementation of solar power projects, reports UNB.
Although Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved in principle a total of 16 solar power projects having 975 MW, agreements were signed for only two projects with a capacity of 82 MW.
Nasrul asked the officials to fix a specific timeline for every solar project on which the government has been laying special emphasis as part of its strategic policy to make accessible to the people and make it affordable.
“You must set a timeline to sign power purchase agreement. If the deal is not signed within the timeline, cancel that project,” he told the officials while presiding over a review meeting on renewable energy projects at his ministry on Tuesday.
The meeting was also informed that out of the 16 solar projects, letter of interest (LOI) was issued for five while the Cabinet Purchase Committee approved only one and six are under the consideration of the project processing committee.
Citing attendance in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRINA) in Abu Dhabi, the junior minister said Bangladesh has to take initiative to pursue for receiving fund from the global body.
He said the production cost of the renewable energy has been coming down, which has created huge opportunities to make such energy affordable for the common people.
He also suggested initiating moves to turn the Manpura upazila into the country’s first solar power upazila.
Officials said the neighbourhood has been chosen for its ecological nature, which does not have any road or rail link with other part of the country. But the upazila, having four unions of 33 villages, holds a population of 67,000 people.
Power Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and other top officials of the Power Division were present at the meeting.