Which Energy Resource is Best for Bangladesh?

Last Updated on May 14, 2023 by Aminul Haque Shahin

Bangladesh currently relies heavily on natural gas as its primary energy source, but renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have enormous potential in the country. Coal is used for power generation but has a significant environmental impact.

Overview of energy resources in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a country with a fast-growing economy and a population of around 159 million people. The government has set a target to make electricity available to all citizens by 2021, and renewable energy will be an essential component in meeting this goal.

The government has set targets to generate 5% of its total electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2015 and 10% by 2020. Bangladesh has significant potential for solar energy, with an average of 5 kWh/m of solar radiation falling over 300 days per annum. Wind energy can also be harnessed, particularly along the country’s extensive coastline and on its islands.

The government has taken various steps to promote the use of renewable energy, including the creation of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, which will prepare short, medium, and long-term plans to meet the government’s targets. While renewable energy will supplement conventional production in the immediate future, it will play an important role in reaching remote consumers and reducing fossil fuel-based power consumption.

Importance of energy resource in Bangladesh


Bangladesh has an abundance of natural gas reserves, which currently meet more than 70% of the country’s demand for electricity. Gas is a reliable and cost-effective energy source for power generation in Bangladesh.


Bangladesh has a significant portion of its electricity generated from coal, which helps to diversify its energy mix. However, coal is a non-renewable resource and can have negative environmental impacts if not managed properly.

Renewable Energy:

Renewable energy is an important alternative to traditional energy sources in Bangladesh, particularly in rural areas without access to the grid. Solar energy, in particular, has great potential in the country, given its abundance of sunlight.


Bangladesh is currently exploring the possibility of nuclear power as an energy resource. Nuclear power plants have the potential to provide a large amount of electricity with minimal greenhouse gas emissions, but also have large upfront costs and safety concerns.

It is important for Bangladesh to continue to diversify its energy mix and invest in renewable energy resources to ensure long-term sustainability and energy security.

Fossil Fuels as an Energy Resource in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, particularly petroleum and gas.
  • Each year, Bangladesh imports over five million tonnes of oil, putting inflationary pressure on the economy.
  • The country has a little hold of oil and coal, and the latest and only oil field in Sylhet will meet the current demand for only two years.
  • Although there is a sizable gas stock in Bangladesh, if the current extraction rate continues, this reserve will dry up by 2031.
  • The coal sector in Bangladesh occupies only 2% of total energy generation, but the Power Sector Master Plan targets above 50% of total generation (21.71% from imported and 29.07% from domestic coal) by 2021.
  • The explored regions with coal potential hold an estimated 3 billion tonnes reserve which can serve energy demand for 50 years.
  • The principal barriers for such operation are technical and environmentally friendly mining methods.
  • Reaching the ambitious target would make Bangladesh dependent on fossil fuels.
  • The country needs to explore alternative energy sources, such as nuclear and renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Resources in Bangladesh

Renewable energy is gaining momentum in Bangladesh as it seeks to expand its capacity in the electricity sector. Solar energy is particularly promising, with an estimated 40% of the population having no access to electricity. Bangladesh’s solar home systems (SHS) program has been called the fastest-growing solar home system program in the world, reaching 3 million households by late 2014 and projected to cover 6 million households by 2017. Wind energy also has potential in the island and coastal areas for pumping and electrification, although strong winds during the summer and monsoon seasons must be considered.

Tidal energy is another option, identified as a potential source of power with suitable sites at Coxs Bazar, Maheshkhali, Kutubdia, and other places. Geothermal potential in Bangladesh has yet to be determined, but studies have suggested possible resources in the northwest and southeast regions. Increasing clean energy in Bangladesh’s power generation mix could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%, generate domestic employment of up to 55,000 full-time equivalent jobs, and have the potential to produce additional electricity.

Challenges and Opportunities for Energy Resource Development in Bangladesh

1. Growing Demand for Electricity

Bangladesh has shown rapid economic growth in recent years, resulting in increased demand for electricity. The government has set a target to make electricity available to all citizens by 2021.

2. Traditional Energy Sources

The country has relied heavily on traditional energy sources such as gas and coal to generate electricity in the past.

3. Renewable Energy Options

To address the growing demand for electricity and reduce reliance on traditional energy sources, the government has prioritized renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Policy was approved in 2008, with a target to generate 10% of the total electricity supply from renewable energyresources by 2020.

4. Solar Energy Potential

Bangladesh has abundant solar energy potential, with an average of 5 kWh/m of solar radiation falling over 300 days per year. This has created opportunities for the development of solar energy projects, especially in off-grid areas.

5. Wind Energy Potential

The country’s 700 km coastline and the strong monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal provide opportunities for wind energy development.

6. Hydro Power Potential

Bangladesh has several rivers that can be utilized for hydropower generation. However, challenges such as land acquisition, environmental concerns, and financial constraints have hindered the development of large-scale hydropower projects.

7. Biomass Energy Potential

The country has significant biomass energy potential, especially from agricultural waste. However, the lack of proper infrastructure and technology has limited the development of biomass energy projects.

Overall, Bangladesh has significant opportunities for renewable energy development, but several challenges need to be addressed to realize its full potential.

Comparing Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy Resources in Bangladesh in points

Fossil Fuels

  • Bangladesh relies heavily on natural gas, with limited reserves of coal.
  • Fossil fuels contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, causing environmental concerns such as air pollution and climate change.
  • The cost of fossil fuels can be volatile due to geopolitical factors, making it challenging for energy planning and affordability.
  • Power plants using fossil fuels require significant infrastructure and investment, which can be a challenge for a developing country like Bangladesh.

Renewable Energy

  • Bangladesh has enormous potential for renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and hydropower.
  • Renewable energy can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address environmental concerns such as air pollution and climate change.
  • Renewable energy costs have been declining and are becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, making it more accessible and affordable.
  • Renewable energy systems can be more decentralized, providing energy access to remote and off-grid areas, which is a significant challenge in Bangladesh.


In conclusion, Bangladesh has set ambitious targets to generate a significant portion of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The government has taken several initiatives to promote the use of renewable energy, such as the development of policies and regulations, the creation of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, and the implementation of various renewable energy programs.