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Linking innovation and local uptake in rural development: potential for renewable energy cooperatives in Bangladesh

Siddiqui, Firoze Ahmed (2003) Linking innovation and local uptake in rural development: potential for renewable energy cooperatives in Bangladesh. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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In Bangladesh, as elsewhere in the world, energy both commercial and noncommercial, serves as a major vehicle for development. In the last three decades, lopsided development efforts, without proper concern for the environment and productivity level of natural resources have created significant problems for development sustainability in Bangladesh. The energy sector faces deep crisis in meeting increasing energy demands for development of agriculture, industry, transportation and other sectors of economy.

The country is heavily dependent on import of commercial fossil fuel energy, petroleum, petroleum products and coal. Such dependency makes Bangladesh economy more vulnerable to external price shocks in the international energy market. Non-commercial energy plays a dominant role in overall energy consumption in Bangladesh. Use of non commercial energy constitutes about two-thirds of the country's total energy balance and is almost entirely supplied from the already overstressed biomass resources of the country. The population size and the vast majority living in rural areas have created immense pressure on the country's biomass resources resulting in massive deforestation, decline of soil fertility and reduced productivity of agriculture. Desperate access to resources, particularly in rural areas is also causing uneven development of the rural population in Bangladesh.

The development of the energy sector is a time bound issue and demands proper and timely attention. For Bangladesh, substitution of current biomass energy use with iv sustainable energy sources and their effective management is therefore critically important to sustain its overall development.

There is ample scope for introducing energy efficient technologies and energy conservation measures in commercial and non-commercial energy use in Bangladesh. Effective and realistic energy planning and policy formulation is therefore crucially important for sustainable development in Bangladesh.

The thesis explores the possibility of introducing an alternate approach to rural energy development through a series of case studies on selected technologies viz. biogas and improved efficiency cook stoves technology projects in the public sector and Grameen Shakti's renewable energy programme in the private sector.

Application of village energy supply system based on renewable energy technologies utilising abundantly available renewable resources of the country and already well in place technologies such as solar PV, bio digesters and energy storage batteries will be trailed within a framework that works with the participation of the (rural/village) community in running and managing energy supply in the villages. Introduction of a community based energy supply system Rural Energy Cooperative (REC) has been examined as a model for rural energy development, targeting economic, environmental and community development at the same time, which forms together the necessary foundation for sustainable development in (rural) Bangladesh, as well as in other parts of the developing world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Supervisor(s): Marinova, Dora
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