World Bank helps Bangladesh expand access to renewable energy

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Dhaka, May 30 (IANS) The Bangladesh government has signed a $55 million financing agreement with the World Bank to expand renewable energy uses in rural areas.

The agreement was signed by Kazi Shofiqul Azam, secretary of Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division, and Fan Qimiao, Asian Development Bank country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The additional financing to the Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED II) Project will install 1,000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids and about 4 million improved cooking stoves in rural areas, said the Washington-based lender.

Since 2003, the World Bank said it has been helping Bangladesh expand solar-powered electricity in remote and rural areas. Today, the country has one of the world’s largest domestic solar power programmes, covering 14 per cent of the population, it said.

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“Following a successful demand-driven public-private partnership programme, Bangladesh installed 4.2 million solar home systems,” said Fan.

“This additional financing will help scale up use of clean and renewable energy such as solar irrigation pumps and solar mini-grids, which will help reduce poverty, improve the environment, create jobs, and open up new opportunities for rural people.”

With an additional $20 million support from the Green Climate Fund that assists developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change, the project will scale up the use of improved cooking stoves, which emit 90 per cent less carbon monoxide and use half as much firewood as a traditional cooking stove, said the bank.

–IANS

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