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Although feasible, falling renewables costs might not benefit Bangladesh's energy sector's decarbonisation: Is this another ‘debt-fossil fuel production trap’?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kumar Biswajit DebnathORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cost of decarbonisation, Energy generation sector, Privatisation, Carbon pricing, Energy investment},abstract = {As Bangladesh strives to transition from a least developed to a developed nation by 2041, a growing population and rising disposable income have spurred a growing middle class, escalating the demand for accessible energy. The government and the private sector have heavily invested in a fossil fuel-centric energy mix to meet this anticipated surge in demand. However, our research challenged this prevailing approach by developing a country-scale scenario-based input-output long-horizon energy planning model for demonstrating the economic viability of decarbonising Bangladesh's electricity generation sector by 2050, with a preference for renewables over fossil fuels, particularly in a low-emissions scenario. This study was among the first to evaluate which was the most recent Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP) with a long-horizon energy planning model and suggested that implementing strategic socio-economic development measures, such as privatisation, deregulation, transparency, energy demand reduction, equitable subsidy removal, and carbon pricing, could yield a 24 % cost reduction for developing a near-zero emissions electricity generation sector by 2050. Despite these potential benefits, current and future policies, entirely influenced by master plans developed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, continue to rely heavily on imported coal, liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, ammonia, and nuclear energy, which raised concerns about the country being entangled in a ‘debt-fossil fuel production trap.’ We recommended a critical re-evaluation of existing energy policies. This caution was grounded in the suggestion that the nation should instead harness in-country resources and explore renewable-rich alternatives within its regional neighbouring countries, steering away from potential geopolitical, economic, and environmental pitfalls.Kumar Biswajit Debnath and Monjur Mourshed

Publication metadata

Author(s): Debnath KB, Mourshed M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Energy for Sustainable Development

Year: 2024

Volume: 79

Print publication date: 01/03/2024

Online publication date: 28/02/2024

Acceptance date: 13/02/2024

Date deposited: 17/04/2024

ISSN (print): 0973-0826

ISSN (electronic): 2352-4669

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.esd.2024.101416


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Grant reference SENFC1–025