Renewable energy and energy efficiency

Project description

Title: Renewable energy and energy efficiency programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bangladesh
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources (MPEMR)
Overall term: 2007 to 2018


The reliable and efficient delivery of modern energy services is key to reducing poverty and boosting economic development. By 2021, Bangladesh is set to reach middle-income status and achieve its target of making electricity available for all. Beforehand however, large-scale investments are needed to fill the country’s infrastructure gaps, especially in the energy sector. With annual demand growth at 10 per cent, failure to act now could strangle economic growth. To cope with this swift industrialisation process and render its industries and households more energy efficient, Bangladesh needs to generate energy from alternative sources. Indeed, limited energy supply is one of the main factors holding back growth, particularly in rural areas, where people need to be given opportunities to share in the burgeoning prosperity. Aware of the problem, the Government of Bangladesh has already undertaken several measures to improve the availability of power. Presently, the country has an installed electricity generation capacity of 13,000 MW (October 2016) and about 78 per cent of the population has access to on-grid electricity. Maximum demand served during peak hours is currently up to 9,036 MW (30 June 2016) and annual per-capita power generation capacity has reached 407 kWh (August 2016). Nonetheless, securing an adequate supply of affordable and reliable modern energy for households and industry remains a challenge.

About six per cent of the entire population has access to natural gas, primarily in major urban areas. The rest of the population depends on biomass for fuel, especially wood, biomass briquettes, cow dung and agricultural residues. Consequently, wood and organic matter account for 63 per cent of primary energy supply, and around 35 per cent of all households use fuelwood for cooking (BBS, 2011). Developing sustainable, reliable, efficient and decentralised energy services based on renewable resources is therefore critical to reducing poverty, improving public health and protecting the natural environment.


The programme aims to create the enabling conditions required to disseminate renewable energy and increase energy efficiency in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh.  © GIZ


The programme is supported by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) and by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Commissioned with programme implementation, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is advising MPEMR on ways of improving the legal and institutional framework for the energy sector, including the development of renewable energy policies and the formulation of rules and regulations for energy conservation.

A first-hour supporter of the newly established Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), the programme’s strategic orientation is geared to increasing the use of renewable energies and raising energy efficiency while formulating concepts for their generation and up-scaling. Programme inputs – including pilot activities to ensure market sustainability – focus on building technological and human resources capacity and on developing innovative financial mechanisms and a regulatory environment. The programme also co-operates widely with supply and demand-side stakeholders, financial institutions and regulatory authorities.

The programme essentially aims to:

  • Develop the framework conditions required for the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It plans to do this by means of policy advocacy and by supporting SREDA’s institutional development.
  • Develop locally customised technological solutions for sustainable energy delivery and establish business cases through successful piloting.
  • Facilitate market uptake of successful business models by developing stakeholder capacity, promoting access to finance and leveraging sustainable ownership.

To develop and adapt relevant technologies, the programme cooperates with research and educational institutions and government programmes.

To encourage the dissemination and adaptation of new technologies, GIZ is working with state institutions such as the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) as well as with numerous local non-governmental organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises. At the same time, it is sensitising financial institutions like Bangladesh Bank, the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) and commercial banks to the need for suitable financial mechanisms to support the rollout of renewable energies and energy efficiency.

The programme also cooperates with other international organisations, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), International Finance Corporation (IFC), KfW Development Bank and World Bank.

The GFA Consulting Group is supporting implementation of the programme’s Renewable Energy component.


Instrumental in the 2014 launch of the national nodal agency Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) and a driving force behind its capacity development, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme has consistently advocated the development of the regulatory frameworks needed to promote renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, leading to some notable outcomes.

To date, GIZ has provided technical support for the installation of about 1,500 biogas plants in slaughterhouses and dairy and poultry farms. By December 2013, these plants had achieved a commercial-scale production level of five gigawatts of power using biogas digesters. Biogas is a valuable renewable energy that reduces odours and lowers the overall consumption of other traditional cooking fuels. Consequently, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and GIZ recently signed a financing agreement specifying demonstration models for combined biogas-slaughterhouse plants in the Shaheb Bazar Area of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) and the Tongi Area of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC). To get things moving, GIZ has already signed two separate Memorandums of Understanding with RCC and GCC respectively, in which it pledges to provide technical assistance.

Since 2010, GIZ has installed 122 separate climate-resilient and low-carbon solar-powered drinking water plants, securing a sustainably safe drinking water supply for more than 500,000 people in six coastal districts of Bangladesh. It has also addressed the issue of internal migration and looked at ways of improving living conditions and ensuring environmental sustainability. GIZ aims to blend community management and private sector involvement to ensure the systems are managed sustainably. The solar water plants are now being handed over to the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE).

At Keraniganj Upazilla, GIZ conducted a feasibility study to explore the possibility of waste-to-energy (WtE) conversion. The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is implementing a pilot project based on a GIZ study. The success of this pilot phase may lead to the replication of similar efforts in other areas or municipalities, thus improving the environment and radically reducing the volume of primary energy consumption.

In 2015, GIZ piloted a LED tube light project in a Ready Made Garments (RMG) factory under the ESCO model. The aim was to demonstrate LED’s energy efficiency potential and to showcase the viability of the ESCO model for Bangladesh. In the process, it also set a standard to ensure LED compliance with minimum RMG lighting requirements. Aiming to develop the capacity of relevant stakeholders for ESCO contracting and management, the programme has undertaken further measures to leverage finance to help pilot activities.

In 2014, GIZ joined with other partner organisations to start promoting retained heat cookers (RHCs). Support includes assisting manufacturing organisations to develop their capacity and training users to operate the stoves. Currently GIZ’s technical assistance to local RHC manufacturers focuses on market development. With GIZ support, six manufacturers have since produced around 15,000 RHCs and sold some 14,000 of them. Since 2014, RHCs have saved around 1,900 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). Compared to conventional stoves, this GIZ-devised alternative cooking solution can produce fuel savings of up to 48 per cent, depending on the food item. RHCs also reduce cooking time by two thirds, lower CO2 emissions and cut down on indoor air pollution, thus promoting women’s empowerment in a number of ways.

The promotion of improved rice parboiling systems (IRPS) is another field of GIZ activity in Bangladesh. Following the installation of 14 demonstration units across the country’s 50 rice mill clusters, there are now 75 systems of this kind in operation, 15 of which were installed with GIZ support. Thanks to GIZ’s technical assistance and capacity development initiatives, more than 50 technicians have undergone training and can now provide local cluster-based services. IRPS is helping to save energy and lives by creating a pollution-free working environment, particularly for women.

In response to the energy situation, GIZ piloted an R&D project on an industrial solar pipe light, with a view to using locally available materials to develop a low-cost customised skylight that would give industrial buildings free natural lighting. The result is a 14-inch diameter tubular skylight for cottage industries and a 22-inch one for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enabling them to use free natural lighting for 10-12 hours during the daytime, instead of electric lights. GIZ is currently conducting a market survey, with a view to up-scaling this product and expanding the market.

Bangladesh.   © GIZ

In addition, GIZ has conducted another feasibility study in support of MPEMR’s vision of a conservative energy solution. Essentially, the programme aims to explore the potential for using waste heat from power stations to provide energy for a water-lithium bromide vapour absorption refrigeration system for conveniently located cold storage sites. Based on the study recommendation, Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL) is to construct a 5,000 MT capacity cold storage pilot facility nearby, which it will power using waste heat from 50 MW reciprocating engines located at the power station. The objective is to develop a programme capable of revamping Bangladesh’s cold storage industry in a financially viable manner using new technologies, new sources of alternative energy and new refrigeration techniques.

GIZ’s advisory services to MPEMR have helped to improve the energy sector’s legal and institutional framework. The upshot: not only are renewable energy technologies more widespread now, but the level of energy efficiency in industries and households is increasing too.