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Bangladesh Lighting the Path Through Dedication to Power: Power Chief

For over three decades, Eng Mohammad Hossain, the Chief of Power Cell has been a formidable presence in the power sector, crafting a legacy of achievements through high-profile roles across diverse organizations. As a distinguished Harvard Business School alumnus, Mr. Hossain's commitment to excellence earned him the 2021 Global Business and CSR Award, showcasing his visionary approach to global betterment.
Express Report
  14 Dec 2023, 02:57

Bangladesh once deemed a 'bottomless basket' by Western diplomats, now shines as a global success story in economic development. Much of this credit belongs to the swift progress in the power sector, spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who recognized that electricity serves as the unseen catalyst propelling economic prosperity.

Eng. Mohammad Hossain, Director General of the Power Cell Division told THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS in an exclusive interview under the daily’s report series named Growth Talks.

"You can't fan the flames of economic growth and progress without illuminating the road to universal electricity access”, the Power Cell chief said adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina not only realized this truth but also took visionary steps to make it a reality.

Power Cell is a policy and planning agency under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded grant funding to Power Cell to deploy smart grid technology for the country’s power grid.

“Today, you won't stumble upon any darkened village; instead, people living in villages all gleam with the radiance of electricity, propelling the engine of our economic growth journey," he declared.

Today 100 per cent of the country’s population has access to electricity as power installed capacity has increased 5 folds thanks to the addition of 22,091 MW in the power grid and construction of 6,672 circuit kilometres of transmission lines under the present government, he explained.

“As the nation continues to illuminate homes and industries alike, it sets a shining example of how dedication to power can illuminate the path to a brighter future,” Eng Hossain said.

The government is not merely paying lip service but rather taking resolute action to ensure sustainable inclusive economic growth focusing the power generation, he said.

“Our per capita power generation has increased from 220 kWh to 609 kWh while distribution system loss has reduced by 6.89% and uninterrupted electricity is ensured for irrigation”, he said noting that the most pressing problem in the power sector has been with the distribution system, which is characterized by heavy system loss and poor collection performance.

The government's ambitions in the power sector are nothing short of audacious and forward-thinking. The roadmap envisions generating 40,000 MW by 2030, an impressive 60,000 MW by 2041, and an astounding 77,000 MW by 2050, Eng Hossain mentioned.

 

 

To realize these goals, Eng Hossain said, an array of projects in generation, distribution, and transmission is currently underway across various phases of implementation. Fuel diversification has been embraced as a strategic imperative, complemented by a resolute focus on renewable energy sources.

Bangladesh's strides in electricity and power are nothing short of remarkable. In recent years, the nation has undergone a transformative journey, with a relentless focus on electrifying even its remotest corners.

Initiatives like rural electrification projects and increased power generation capacity have brought light and energy to millions. This progress has not only improved the daily lives of its citizens but also bolstered industrial growth and technological advancements.

“Gone are the days of manual troubleshooting; we're now equipped to pinpoint and address any potential glitches swiftly and efficiently. This transformation underscores our commitment to delivering a robust and uninterrupted power supply to our citizens”, Eng Hossain said.

“We've embarked on a journey of innovation, introducing measures such as the installation of smart meters at select consumer locations. Simultaneously, we've launched SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) at the distribution level, with a broader vision of encompassing the entire network within its scope.

These strategic moves are propelling us towards a future where our power supply is not only seamless but also intricately monitored by an automated system”, he said.

During the early 90s, the power chief said, the country’s power sector was highly inefficient and infamous among the development partners. International organisations like the World Bank, IMF, and ADB once decided to stop lending in this sector, citing corruption, 100% transparency and mismanagement.

However, the Director General of the Power Cell Division agreed that the country’s power situation is still under strain. A World Bank report said that Bangladesh lost around $3.3 billion a year due to unreliable power supply to homes, offices, and factories which amounted is around 1.5 per cent of the GDP.

Even though Bangladesh's power generation capacity is over 23,000 megawatts, the report said that power generation asset utilisation remained low, below 50 per cent, due to fuel shortages, poor dispatch, and transmission constraints.

But things have changed in the last decade since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed power in 2008 through a landslide victory in the National polls, Eng Hossain said during his Growth Talks to THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS.

“It was a time when the system loss was around 25-30%. The Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to put an end to those debacles and to form a body that will supervise the ongoing activities while conducting the necessary reforms”, he said.

The power Chief, however, agreed that the extent of system loss in the power system in Bangladesh has reached a state that affects the country’s economy severely.

“In any system in the physical world, some system loss is inevitable and acceptable. The power sector, which is immensely important for an economy, should have standard practices regarding its losses”, he said noting that the government led by Sheikh Hasina has taken necessary measures to reduce system loss and some projects to improve production.

To meet the demand for electricity generation, distribution & transmission, a number of impressive projects are in the various phases of implementation, he said noting that the Power Development Board will connect an impressive 34.2 million new subscribers to the grid very soon.

The construction of an impressive 6,672 circuit kilometres of transmission lines is going in full swing with an extensive 369 thousand kilometres of distribution lines and 31 power plants with a combined capacity of 11,734 MW now under construction, he said.

“We have planned to generate 40000 MW by 2030, 60000 MW by 2041 and 77,000 MW by 2050”, he added.

For over three decades, Eng Mohammad Hossain, the Chief of Power Cell has been a formidable presence in the power sector, crafting a legacy of achievements through high-profile roles across diverse organizations.

As a distinguished Harvard Business School alumnus, Mr. Hossain's commitment to excellence earned him the 2021 Global Business and CSR Award, showcasing his visionary approach to global betterment.

Smart grids have become the cornerstone of modern power infrastructure in developed nations across the globe. While Bangladesh has commendably met its generation target, extending electricity access to all its citizens, the quest for quality power supply remains unfulfilled.

Enter the smart grid—a transformative solution that bridges the gap between consumers and an automated system infused with the power of IT and IoT. This innovation opens the door to seamless supply monitoring.

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation's socio-economic advancement. With each passing day, the demand for electricity surges, prompting the government to recognize its profound significance”, the Power Cell chief said.

“As a testament to its commitment, the government has set forth an ambitious vision: to ensure all citizens enjoy dependable, high-quality power at an accessible cost”, he said.

“Energy demand will continue to grow in the coming years even as the world gradually transitions from fossil fuels to renewable sources”, Eng Hossain said and expressed his concern that it is difficult to replace today's energy system where oil consumption stands at approximately 100 million barrels per day.

“We have got to come up with solutions to see the transition happen”, he said noting that oil and natural gas fields face a natural production decline every year.

“The industry needs to maintain some level of investment. Otherwise, the world will run short of supply and prices will rise”, the Power Cell chief. “My sense is it will be a transition. It will take time, and hopefully, energy will continue to grow with much fewer emissions associated with it”.

Bangladesh is on a trajectory toward middle-income country status and strives to become a developed nation by 2041. Its growth must be supported by energy security and universal access to high-quality, reliable electricity that can fuel economic and social activities.

Nevertheless, reform progress has slowed in the last few years and new challenges have exposed structural and institutional weaknesses. These challenges are strong drivers for Bangladesh to make structural changes, further reforming the electricity system to be ready for the future.

As Bangladesh continues to light up its future, economists say policymakers must prioritize power and renewable energy for several compelling reasons. The recently concluded COP28 Summit called for world leaders to triple renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 and form the foundation of a net zero global energy system by 2050.

“Here, we are not far behind the developing economies”, the Power Cell chief said noting that the government has taken steps for fuel diversification along with an emphasis on renewable energy with a vision to generate up to 40% from clean energy by 2050.

“We are stricter about the emission standard for the power plants in order to protect the country from becoming an emission dumping station of the technology-supplying country”, he said.

“We have already harnessed renewable energy to generate an impressive 1,400 MW of electricity, implemented 60 million Solar Home Systems (SHS) to promote sustainable energy and installed a total of 545 thousand pre-paid/smart pre-paid meters”, the Power Cell chief concluded.

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Bangladesh Lighting the Path Through Dedication to Power: Power Chief

For over three decades, Eng Mohammad Hossain, the Chief of Power Cell has been a formidable presence in the power sector, crafting a legacy of achievements through high-profile roles across diverse organizations. As a distinguished Harvard Business School alumnus, Mr. Hossain's commitment to excellence earned him the 2021 Global Business and CSR Award, showcasing his visionary approach to global betterment.
Express Report
  14 Dec 2023, 02:57

Bangladesh once deemed a 'bottomless basket' by Western diplomats, now shines as a global success story in economic development. Much of this credit belongs to the swift progress in the power sector, spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who recognized that electricity serves as the unseen catalyst propelling economic prosperity.

Eng. Mohammad Hossain, Director General of the Power Cell Division told THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS in an exclusive interview under the daily’s report series named Growth Talks.

"You can't fan the flames of economic growth and progress without illuminating the road to universal electricity access”, the Power Cell chief said adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina not only realized this truth but also took visionary steps to make it a reality.

Power Cell is a policy and planning agency under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded grant funding to Power Cell to deploy smart grid technology for the country’s power grid.

“Today, you won't stumble upon any darkened village; instead, people living in villages all gleam with the radiance of electricity, propelling the engine of our economic growth journey," he declared.

Today 100 per cent of the country’s population has access to electricity as power installed capacity has increased 5 folds thanks to the addition of 22,091 MW in the power grid and construction of 6,672 circuit kilometres of transmission lines under the present government, he explained.

“As the nation continues to illuminate homes and industries alike, it sets a shining example of how dedication to power can illuminate the path to a brighter future,” Eng Hossain said.

The government is not merely paying lip service but rather taking resolute action to ensure sustainable inclusive economic growth focusing the power generation, he said.

“Our per capita power generation has increased from 220 kWh to 609 kWh while distribution system loss has reduced by 6.89% and uninterrupted electricity is ensured for irrigation”, he said noting that the most pressing problem in the power sector has been with the distribution system, which is characterized by heavy system loss and poor collection performance.

The government's ambitions in the power sector are nothing short of audacious and forward-thinking. The roadmap envisions generating 40,000 MW by 2030, an impressive 60,000 MW by 2041, and an astounding 77,000 MW by 2050, Eng Hossain mentioned.

 

 

To realize these goals, Eng Hossain said, an array of projects in generation, distribution, and transmission is currently underway across various phases of implementation. Fuel diversification has been embraced as a strategic imperative, complemented by a resolute focus on renewable energy sources.

Bangladesh's strides in electricity and power are nothing short of remarkable. In recent years, the nation has undergone a transformative journey, with a relentless focus on electrifying even its remotest corners.

Initiatives like rural electrification projects and increased power generation capacity have brought light and energy to millions. This progress has not only improved the daily lives of its citizens but also bolstered industrial growth and technological advancements.

“Gone are the days of manual troubleshooting; we're now equipped to pinpoint and address any potential glitches swiftly and efficiently. This transformation underscores our commitment to delivering a robust and uninterrupted power supply to our citizens”, Eng Hossain said.

“We've embarked on a journey of innovation, introducing measures such as the installation of smart meters at select consumer locations. Simultaneously, we've launched SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) at the distribution level, with a broader vision of encompassing the entire network within its scope.

These strategic moves are propelling us towards a future where our power supply is not only seamless but also intricately monitored by an automated system”, he said.

During the early 90s, the power chief said, the country’s power sector was highly inefficient and infamous among the development partners. International organisations like the World Bank, IMF, and ADB once decided to stop lending in this sector, citing corruption, 100% transparency and mismanagement.

However, the Director General of the Power Cell Division agreed that the country’s power situation is still under strain. A World Bank report said that Bangladesh lost around $3.3 billion a year due to unreliable power supply to homes, offices, and factories which amounted is around 1.5 per cent of the GDP.

Even though Bangladesh's power generation capacity is over 23,000 megawatts, the report said that power generation asset utilisation remained low, below 50 per cent, due to fuel shortages, poor dispatch, and transmission constraints.

But things have changed in the last decade since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed power in 2008 through a landslide victory in the National polls, Eng Hossain said during his Growth Talks to THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS.

“It was a time when the system loss was around 25-30%. The Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to put an end to those debacles and to form a body that will supervise the ongoing activities while conducting the necessary reforms”, he said.

The power Chief, however, agreed that the extent of system loss in the power system in Bangladesh has reached a state that affects the country’s economy severely.

“In any system in the physical world, some system loss is inevitable and acceptable. The power sector, which is immensely important for an economy, should have standard practices regarding its losses”, he said noting that the government led by Sheikh Hasina has taken necessary measures to reduce system loss and some projects to improve production.

To meet the demand for electricity generation, distribution & transmission, a number of impressive projects are in the various phases of implementation, he said noting that the Power Development Board will connect an impressive 34.2 million new subscribers to the grid very soon.

The construction of an impressive 6,672 circuit kilometres of transmission lines is going in full swing with an extensive 369 thousand kilometres of distribution lines and 31 power plants with a combined capacity of 11,734 MW now under construction, he said.

“We have planned to generate 40000 MW by 2030, 60000 MW by 2041 and 77,000 MW by 2050”, he added.

For over three decades, Eng Mohammad Hossain, the Chief of Power Cell has been a formidable presence in the power sector, crafting a legacy of achievements through high-profile roles across diverse organizations.

As a distinguished Harvard Business School alumnus, Mr. Hossain's commitment to excellence earned him the 2021 Global Business and CSR Award, showcasing his visionary approach to global betterment.

Smart grids have become the cornerstone of modern power infrastructure in developed nations across the globe. While Bangladesh has commendably met its generation target, extending electricity access to all its citizens, the quest for quality power supply remains unfulfilled.

Enter the smart grid—a transformative solution that bridges the gap between consumers and an automated system infused with the power of IT and IoT. This innovation opens the door to seamless supply monitoring.

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation's socio-economic advancement. With each passing day, the demand for electricity surges, prompting the government to recognize its profound significance”, the Power Cell chief said.

“As a testament to its commitment, the government has set forth an ambitious vision: to ensure all citizens enjoy dependable, high-quality power at an accessible cost”, he said.

“Energy demand will continue to grow in the coming years even as the world gradually transitions from fossil fuels to renewable sources”, Eng Hossain said and expressed his concern that it is difficult to replace today's energy system where oil consumption stands at approximately 100 million barrels per day.

“We have got to come up with solutions to see the transition happen”, he said noting that oil and natural gas fields face a natural production decline every year.

“The industry needs to maintain some level of investment. Otherwise, the world will run short of supply and prices will rise”, the Power Cell chief. “My sense is it will be a transition. It will take time, and hopefully, energy will continue to grow with much fewer emissions associated with it”.

Bangladesh is on a trajectory toward middle-income country status and strives to become a developed nation by 2041. Its growth must be supported by energy security and universal access to high-quality, reliable electricity that can fuel economic and social activities.

Nevertheless, reform progress has slowed in the last few years and new challenges have exposed structural and institutional weaknesses. These challenges are strong drivers for Bangladesh to make structural changes, further reforming the electricity system to be ready for the future.

As Bangladesh continues to light up its future, economists say policymakers must prioritize power and renewable energy for several compelling reasons. The recently concluded COP28 Summit called for world leaders to triple renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 and form the foundation of a net zero global energy system by 2050.

“Here, we are not far behind the developing economies”, the Power Cell chief said noting that the government has taken steps for fuel diversification along with an emphasis on renewable energy with a vision to generate up to 40% from clean energy by 2050.

“We are stricter about the emission standard for the power plants in order to protect the country from becoming an emission dumping station of the technology-supplying country”, he said.

“We have already harnessed renewable energy to generate an impressive 1,400 MW of electricity, implemented 60 million Solar Home Systems (SHS) to promote sustainable energy and installed a total of 545 thousand pre-paid/smart pre-paid meters”, the Power Cell chief concluded.

Comments

Lack of transparency hinders the growth of the insurance sector: B M Yousuf Ali
Bangladesh now the best in the global RMG sector: Faruque Hassan
AL places pragmatic, comprehensive & inclusive manifesto: Dr Atiur
To keep economic growth, we must reduce road accidents: BARVIDA leader