COP 22- Bangladesh: Beyond grid connectivity

COP 22- Bangladesh: Beyond grid connectivity

  COP 22- Bangladesh: Beyond grid connectivity   A  delegation of Tanzanians  came to visit Bangladesh recently.  Basically, it was for  learning  how to accelerate access to energy for poor people in the rural areas without having to link them to the national grid. By Deodatus Mfugale   Rural: access to energy     Two things are known to change quickly the lives of the rural population and lift them out of poverty. One of them is the provision of electricity. When poor families are provided with electricity the quality of life improves for the entire family as well as for individual members of the family.   Some research in Bangladesh, for example, has shown that the children’s average study time had increased by about six percent and their absence from school due to sickness reduced by 20 percent with access to electricity . Small retail businesses run by poor families had also shown to rise by eight percent due to provision of electricity.   The challenge however, is to provide electricity to many people within a short time so as to scale up poverty reduction at family level. Many developing countries tend to take the path of connecting rural families to the national grid, with the result that only a few people are connected after a long time and usually at a high cost.   However some countries have shown that small off-grid systems are the answer when the goal is to supply many poor families with electricity within a short time.   “Some people think that supplying many rural families with electricity from a 100 percent renewable source is abstract,” explained  recently Mr. Dipal Barua Founder and Chairman of Bright Green Energy Foundation (BGEF) of Bangladesh.   “Yet this is feasible if  we aim at small and simple solar systems that can supply individual families enough power to light their homes and provide other simple services like charging mobile phones,” he added.   Between 2010 and 2014, 3.5 million households had for the first time been installed with simple solar systems which benefited about 15 million people. Since then about 50,000 families install new solar systems of between 10Watts and 135Watts every month.  The target is to provide electricity from simple solar systems to six million households by end of next year.     Linking to Tanzania   For people in the rural areas having electricity from non-grid sources is a leap that takes them to new levels of development. Otherwise they would have to wait for decades to be connected to power supply from the national grid.     More importantly, such a family would stop...

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