Uncertainty in supply of primary fuel and price volatility are the major threats to our energy sustainability and the authority should address these issues in future plans, said energy experts at a virtual discussion held on Saturday.
They said uninterrupted gas supply, right energy mix and energy efficiency are equally important for sustainable development.
"Uncertainty of gas supply is a major threat to our energy sustainability. If our local supply dropped by 500mmcfd, how we will overcome the situation? There will be a major crisis," said Mohammad Tamim, a professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, at the discussion titled "Sustainable Development of Energy-Power Sector and Budget for FY2021-22," organised by fortnightly magazine Energy & Power.
Talking about the future energy sustainability, the energy expert said, "We won't get sustainable supply of coal until we develop a good import facility. Besides, supply disruption and price volatility in import are inevitable."
"However, if we need to depend on fossil fuel, we should depend on LNG gas, but there is a price issue. People will have to pay the international price, otherwise we will have to continue subsidising," he opined.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, chief guest at the programme, said the future of energy of Bangladesh is going to be import-based as the country's gas reserve is depleting.
"We are going to increase the import volume of LNG in future, but we will not keep selling it to the power plants at the existing subsidised rate," said Nasrul Hamid.
"We spend to buy one Tk26 unit gas, but we sell it at Tk4 per unit to the power plants. To fulfill the deficit, we are charging high prices from CNG gas stations and providing government subsidy," he said.
Summit Group Chairman Mohammad Aziz Khan, guest of honor at the event, said "If we have oil-based power plant in the production line, at least we can use them if there is any problem in LNG supply end."
He said "Experts are opposing liquefied fuel fired power production showing its production cost. But most us do not know that there is 34% duty imposed on oil fired power which is almost zero in gas fired power plants."
Talking about lack of gas exploration in our deep-sea areas, Aziz Khan said there is a big relation between offs-shore drilling, affordability and international market commercialisation.
"We have a big deep sea area, but Myanmar and India got the shore line. We face monsoon and cyclones each year in our sea areas. Therefore, exploration in our sea areas is tough," he added.
Dr Ahsan H Mansur, executive director at Policy Research Institute, said the main problem regarding energy sustainability is in the rural areas where still people suffer from load shedding regularly.
Mohammad Hossain, director general of Power Cell of power energy and mineral resources ministry presented the keynote at the programme. He said despite covering 99% households with electrification, there is a question over quality electricity supply.
Among others, former chairman of National Board of Revenue Muhammad Abdul Mazid, and former president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Abul Kasem Khan spoke at the programme.
Mollah Amzad Hossain, the editor of Energy & Power magazine moderated the discussion.