Empowering Bangladesh with clean energy today means a brighter, sustainable future: Peter Haas

US ambassador in Dhaka Peter HaasFile Photo

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Tuesday said it will take contributions from the government, private sector, and civil society to achieve a just energy transition in Bangladesh. 

It will require good policies in place to incentivize smart investments and cross-border electricity trade, privatization of underperforming state-owned assets, adoption of new technologies, and a phasing out of the most damaging fossil fuel power generation facilities, he said.

Haas added, "This will not happen overnight. It will take years to accomplish.  But we can accomplish it faster if we work together and share our collective knowledge."

Empowering Bangladesh with clean energy today means a brighter, sustainable future for generations to come, noted the US Ambassador at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) held in EMK Center in Dhaka. 

The forum is the premier public-private US government event to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the United States and its partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. 

This year’s event will convene 500 leaders from across the region, including through a live stream for virtual participation and satellite events in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The one-day event in Manila, Philippines, is co-hosted by the US Trade and Development Agency and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, in partnership with the US Department of State.

IPBF connects CEOs, project developers, government officials, and sources of financing for priority infrastructure in emerging Indo-Pacific economies. 

Through speeches, breakout panels, and business matchmaking, participants will learn and share their insights on the latest trends, opportunities, and solutions to support infrastructure across all sectors. IPBF is also a chance to learn more about government tools and programs to support US participation in the region’s priority projects.  

Ambassador Haas said that Russia has shown the world that it will hold energy infrastructure hostage to achieve its imperious objectives.  

"All nations, therefore, must develop a plan to solidify their energy security based on a diversified portfolio of resources," he said.

Haas said Bangladesh is fortunate with its domestic supply of natural gas.  

"I am proud to say that US businesses have been instrumental in allowing Bangladesh to utilize those resources to drive its remarkable economic development over the last two decades," he mentioned.  

While Bangladesh may soon find more gas in new locations, eventually those too will run out, Haas said.

"Renewable and clean energy resources are the key to this energy transition for Bangladesh, for South Asia, and for the world," he said.  

Finding ways to harness solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, and other energy sources is the path to energy security and needed to support continued economic growth and sustainable development.

"To help Bangladesh reach this goal, my government has been working with the Bangladeshi government, the private sector, international financial institutions, and like-minded governments to build the foundation for this country’s clean energy transition," Haas said.

He said there are many dedicated professionals at the event today representing the technical, financial, legal, and policy expertise needed to drive this transition.  

Haas said the challenges they face are finding effective means to decarbonize existing economic infrastructure; seamlessly integrating intermittent energy resources into national grids which are already struggling to keep up with demand; developing abundant supplies of cleaner fuel sources, such as green hydrogen; ensuring that countries have access to finance for clean and renewable energy technologies; and negotiating regional energy trading agreements where politics may trump economic advancement.