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Access to Electricity in Bangladesh Now at 100%

Electricity in Bangladesh
Sharing a border with eastern India, Bangladesh is a fraction of its size but highly populous nonetheless. Thanks to recent initiatives by its government and the World Bank, access to electricity in Bangladesh is now available to all of its citizens.

Electricity in Bangladesh: Where it Comes From

Gas is the predominant source of electrical energy in Bangladesh. A 2020 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) adds that “wind, hydropower and solar PV shares are growing.”

Shares of alternative electricity sources are not the only things growing in Bangladesh. A 2020 issue brief by the Atlantic Council shows that Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) has steadily increased since 2010, increasing the demand for electricity and pressuring gas resources in the country.

Energy Poverty and Access to Electricity in Bangladesh

Given that poverty is a broad term, a narrow dimension of poverty must be defined here. Energy poverty, according to a 2015 World Bank Blog entry, means that poor people are least likely to be able to access energy.

Historically, Bangladesh has struggled to provide electricity for its residents. A 2011 study by Barnes et al. found that energy poverty is found in more than half of rural Bangladeshi households, a higher number than those that are income-poor.

Energizing News

Thanks to recent initiatives, the numbers above are set to decrease. In 2022, a bill was signed that would not only expand access to electricity in Bangladesh; it would also aid the environment.

A World Bank press release from 2022 explains that the financing agreement that it signed along with the Bangladeshi government will bring electricity within reach for 9 million citizens of the country and help Bangladesh transition to clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 41,400 tons per year.

The initiative called the Electricity Distribution Modernization Program seeks to achieve results in three areas, according to an overview by the World Bank. First, the program looks to deliver electricity to more citizens, reduce the country’s carbon footprint, and digitalize Bangladesh’s electricity supply.

Second, the program looks to prepare Bangladesh to integrate distributed energy resources. Lastly, the program looks to expand the “institutional and regulatory capacity” of Bangladesh’s electricity sector.

Encouraging results have already been shown. A 2023 article by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) states that Bangladesh has achieved electricity access for 100% of its population. Bangladesh has reached its goal of power security.

Future Development

The IEEFA’s article, while providing encouraging news, also points to work that can be done to ensure secure access to electricity in Bangladesh going forward. Proposed solutions include providing more funding to the energy sector, repurposing the country’s older, less efficient power plants and providing incentives for Bangladeshis to switch to rooftop solar power.

The sustainability and future success of the Electricity Distribution Modernization Program remain in question. However, 100% access to electricity in Bangladesh, just over a decade removed from findings that more than half of the nation’s rural households were energy-poor, inspires hope.

– Noel Teter
Photo: Flickr