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ADB’s New Power Transmission Project Supports Electricity for All in Bangladesh

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The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved an assistance package totaling more than $357 million for a project to develop two power lines in support of Bangladesh’s national target of electricity for all by 2021.

The investments comprise a $350 million ADB loan, a $7 million grant from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JFJCM) to partially finance new high-technology energy efficient conductors, and a $500,000 grant from the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund (EAKPF) to promote socially inclusive growth with gender equality.

“Bangladesh has been experiencing impressive economic growth over the last decade, but to maintain and even accelerate this, more investments are needed for the power transmission network to meet growing electricity demand,” said ADB Senior Energy Specialist Mr. Aiming Zhou. “In support of this, the ADB project will make the power transmission system more efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly.”

Despite its recent economic success, Bangladesh continues to face major challenges. A top priority of the government is to address infrastructure deficiencies, including modern and affordable energy services, which face recurring shortages and ever-rising demand. About 35 million people in the country are without access to electricity. Inadequate transmission lines and substation transformer capacities in the southern and western regions are the main contributors to transmission bottlenecks. At the same time, construction of new transmission lines has become more challenging because of the high population density and limited rights-of-way.

The Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion Project builds on ADB’s previous work in the Bangladesh power sector, including the recently approved Rupsha 800 megawatt Combines Cycle Power Plant in the southwest region, to address continuing deficiencies in the transmission system through providing more efficient power transfer to the load centers of the southern and western zones.

The project will develop a 126 kilometer (km)-long 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Barisal to Faridpur; and a 104 km-long 400 kV transmission line from Bogra to Rohanpur, along with substations, transformers, and associated extensions and connections.

The new transmission lines will introduce to Bangladesh a new type of high temperature conductor to allow more power transfer at lower energy losses. These have less resistance to power flow, higher power transferring capacity, and operate more reliably in tropical weather. In addition, the use of these conductors also helps to minimize right-of-way requirements.

The project is also contributing to climate change mitigation, since the new conductors reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional transmission conductors that are used in Bangladesh. This climate change mitigation accounts for $93 million of the investment, comprising $86 million from the ADB loan and $7 million from the JFJCM grant.

Under the EAKPF grant, the project will fund a scholarship program that will support women’s access to higher education and boost their job opportunities in the electricity industry.

The government will contribute $174.5 million toward the $532 million total cost of the project, which is due for completion at the end of June 2023.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

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IEA launches World Energy Outlook in China

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Mr Li Ye, Executive Director General of China’s National Energy Agency speaks at the launch of the World Energy Outlook in China (Photograph: IEA)

IEA Chief Modeller Laura Cozzi launched the latest World Energy Outlook in Beijing on 23 January. The China launch brought together over 120 officials and experts drawn from government, academia and the power industry to discuss the latest global energy trends, and the outlook for the electricity.

During his opening remarks, Li Ye, Executive Director General of China’s National Energy Agency noted the strong IEA-China relationship that has delivered key results across a range of important areas of reform for China including: power market reform, distributed energy, renewables and gas market design.

At the IEA Ministerial meeting in 2015, China became one of the first countries to activate Association status with the Agency. Since then the IEA and China have been working closely together to achieve energy reform in China. In 2017, the IEA and China agreed a Three Year Work programme to boost energy policy analysis, promote clean energy systems, build capacity on energy regulation, and improve exchange of data on renewable energy and other resources.  The launch in Beijing was organised by the China Electricity Power Planning and Engineering Institute, which hosts IEA’s China Liaison Office.

The IEA’s work with China includes collaboration to draw upon best international practice in carbon emissions trading, and power market reforms that enables renewable energy to make a greater contribution to electricity supply. Work is ongoing with Chinese counterparts as the new Five Year Plan, and longer-term plans, are put in place to accelerate China’s clean energy transition.  The IEA will launch its latest work on China’s Power System Reform in Beijing on 25 February.

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ADB Joins Partnership to Promote Women in South Asia Energy Industry

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photo: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is partnering in a new professional network launched today in Kathmandu to promote more female practitioners in South Asia’s energy and power sector.

The Women in Power Sector Professional Network in South Asia (WePOWER) aims to support participation of women in energy projects and institutions, as well as promote more women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

The first Regional Conference of WePOWER opened today with 150 attendees, including representatives of energy sector utilities and public agencies involved in projects, technical universities, women engineers, and students. The 2-day event is co-hosted by the World Bank Group and ADB.

“WePOWER is closely aligned with ADB’s broader long-term commitment embodied in its long-term Strategy 2030 to remove constraints that women face in finding more and better jobs,” said ADB Principal Social Development Specialist Mr. Francesco Tornieri. “Although this applies to all sectors, we see the energy sector as one of the most challenging.”

Energy access and infrastructure development are critical elements in South Asia’s development. An ADB series of Gender Equality Diagnostic studies on the energy industry in South Asian countries has found that women’s skills and perspectives account for a small part of job and decision-making by energy sector agencies. Gender diversity in technical and senior managerial positions is also visibly lacking.

Moreover, an assessment conducted by the World Bank in 8 South Asian countries found very low female enrollment rates in engineering programs (ranging from 0.5% to 31%), low female staff representation in utilities (2% to 17%), and an even lower percentage of women in technical roles in utilities (0.5% to 6%). The studies identified the need for role models and family support, absence of basic facilities and transport, and presence of various forms of discrimination and harassment.

WePOWER is envisaged to become a vibrant and self-sustaining professional network backed by strategic partners that can provide technical and financial support. Its work program will focus on five strategic areas—education, recruitment, development, retention, and policy and analysis. WePOWER will provide capacity building support, networking, and mentorship for women engineers for career advancement, research to reform policies and practices, exposure to technology, recruiting opportunities, and access to information and conferences.

The World Bank Group has agreed to host the WePOWER Secretariat for an initial four years. A second Steering Committee meeting is planned to be held at ADB headquarters in November.

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IEA holds high-level workshop on hydrogen

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Workshop participants in Paris on 11 February 2019 (Photograph: IEA)

On 11 February, the IEA held a high-level workshop on hydrogen, bringing together 140 key experts and decision-makers from all parts of the hydrogen value chain. Participants included government representatives, potential hydrogen suppliers, equipment providers, transporters, users of hydrogen and its derivative products, financers and researchers.

The results of the workshop will inform a major new IEA study that will assess the state of play for hydrogen, its economics and future potential. The analysis will cover the entire technology chain for hydrogen from production, transport and storage to its various uses. It will also discuss near-term opportunities for hydrogen deployment as well as practical steps for implementation. The report will be a key input to the 2019 G20 Presidency of Japan.

“Hydrogen can address multiple energy policy goals at the same time: the transition to a cleaner energy system, diversifying the fuel mix and improving energy security,” said IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol in his opening address. “We will bring the IEA’s ‘all-of-energy approach’ to situate hydrogen among the various options for meeting governments’ policy objectives.”

At the workshop, Dr Birol also announced the creation of a High-level Advisory Panel for IEA’s work on hydrogen, consisting of the following officials and experts from around the world:

  • Mr Noe van Hulst (Chair) – Hydrogen Envoy, Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy, Netherlands; former Chair of the IEA Governing Board
  • The Honourable Elisabeth Köstinger – Minister of Sustainability and Tourism, Austria
  • Mr Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter – Chief Technology Officer, Saudi Aramco
  • Dr Alan Finkel – Australia’s Chief Scientist, Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Mr Mikio Kizaki – Chief Professional Engineer, Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan
  • Dr Rebecca Maserumule – Chief Director of Hydrogen and Energy, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
  • Dr Ajay Mathur – Director General, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), India
  • Mr Dominique Ristori – Director General Energy, European Commission
  • Dr Sunita Satyapal – Director Fuel Cell Technologies Office, US Department of Energy, United States
  • Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin – Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences; former Secretary-General of OPEC, Kuwait
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