`In quest of an energy justice framework for Bangladesh`
Energy Justice is a new concept that is being used in the academia around the globe over the last decade. Although there is no universal single definition, but energy justice evolved with an object to ensure universal access to a safe, affordable and sustainable energy for all individuals, across all areas and to protect from disproportionate share of costs or negative impacts relating to building, operating and maintaining electric power generation, transmission, distribution system and to ensure equitable access to benefits from each system. Nonetheless, representative and impartial involvement of the citizens with the energy related decision-making process is another crucial aspect of energy justice. However, the idea of energy justice basically comes out from the concept of social justice and environmental justice. According to earlier ideas, energy justice carries three core tenets which were popularly referred as triumvirate of tenets, focusing distributional, procedural and recognition justice whereas subsequent principle-based approach to energy justice developed eight core principles: 1. the availability principle urges to have sufficient modern energy resources; 2. the affordability principle argues that all people, including the poor, should get energy in reasonable price and should not pay no more than 10% of their income for energy services; 3. the due process principle requires the countries to follow the rule of law and human rights in their production and use of energy; 4. the good governance principle implies that all people should have access to all information regarding energy and environment, and citizens must have participation to fair, transparent, and accountable forms of energy decision-making process; 5. the sustainability principle is an obligation on the state to ensure long-term sustainable energy development with prudent management and to confirm sustainable use and sovereign rights over natural resources; 6. the intragenerational equity principle is a principle which emphasizes that people have the right to fairly access a certain set of minimal energy services enabling them to enjoy a basic minimum of wellbeing; 7. the intergenerational equity principle suggests future generations have a right to enjoy a good life undisturbed by the damage our energy systems inflict on the world today; and finally, 8. the responsibility principle refers to all nations’ duty to protect the natural environment and its sustainability as well as diminish energy-related environmental threats. Nevertheless, being a developing country, maintaining balance among the energy triangle i.e. energy equity, environmental sustainability and energy security is the major challenge for Bangladesh where both the economy and demand for energy are growing simultaneously and rapidly. Hence, Bangladesh is in such a tricky situation in the context of the present world while the globe is committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emission significantly in coming years whereas it must confirm affordable and continuous supply of power to boost up its current economic growth in one hand and safeguard sustainable development on the other hand. To ensure this, Bangladesh cannot be fully dependent on its own natural resources like coal and gas to produce electricity as these are emitting massive amount of CO2. Furthermore, the current gas reserves of Bangladesh are not sufficient for industrialization and power generation concurrently. Consequently, it becomes heavyily reliant on importation of coal, oil and gas from overseas which again create threat to supply and national security as well where the global reserves are also reducing quickly. Alternatively, Bangladesh can concentrate on renewable and ecofriendly sources of energy like solar, wind, biomass, thermal, hydro power, geothermal etc. But again those are not cheap like the traditional burning fossil fuels. Thus, Bangladesh needs a comprehensive energy justice framework concentrating on all the eight principles to safeguard sustainable development towards the real `Sonar Bangla`. Conversely, construction of a power plant beside a biodiversity hotspot is a clear threat to the eco system. Decisions on where to build nuclear waste repositories may raise severe concerns over the health and agriculture of the marginal rural communities. Moreover, forceful eviction of local community including the indigenous people or acquisition of land without proper consultation, compensation, participation or giving full information will definitely do injustice with them. Moreover, disproportionate distribution of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, may require re-thinking the distribution of energy costs and subsidies in societies that play host to high levels of social stratification and division. For example, a transition to renewable energy systems may deprive low-income households of meeting basic energy demand, due to increasingly higher prices as the costs of subsidies are passed on to consumers. Albeit Bangladesh has recently legislated new law and policy focusing on the renewable sources of energy and already constituted the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority to accelerate the process but still it produces about 90% of its electricity from fossils while the internal reserves are finishing quickly. Additionally, the price of power becomes so high for low income people in last couple of years. There is also major lack of due process and good governance in energy sector all over the country which ultimately obstruct sustainable development for the nation. Absence of informed decision and consent in most of the energy project further makes it more difficult for the native to know their benefits and burdens, and the intention of the corporate entities. Nonetheless, better representation of different marginal and ethnic groups in energy policymaking institutions potentially offers a more proactive approach in achieving justice. However, energy justice emphases on inequalities within energy systems and transitions and advocates for the equitable sharing of both the benefits and burdens of energy system services and for more inclusive decision-making processes. It can also be used as a framework to identify when, where, and how injustices occur within energy systems and how these injustices can be eliminated. Therefore, implementing all aspects of energy justice holistically is the most convenient way to resolve the long-rooted energy trilemma for Bangladesh. Raisul Sourav is a chevening scholar 2017-18 and currently pursuing his second LLM in international energy law and policy at the university of stirling, UK. He is also a university teacher, lawyer, legal researcher and, rights and equality activist.
‘Prospect of hybrid electric vehicles in Bangladesh’
Hybrid cars are now more popular than conventional cars due to lower lifetime operating cost and environmental impact. Hybrid car uses a combination of an electric motor and a traditional engine to power the vehicle. This means the car uses a combination of electricity stored in batteries and fuel stored in a tank to drive the car forward. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are often more expensive than similar conventional vehicles, though some cost may be recovered through fuel savings or state incentives. A wide variety of HEV models is currently available, popular classes are full hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Full hybrid vehicles are using a battery and electric motor in addition to an engine that runs on gasoline. These type cars are also more efficient and they can automatically choose to operate in electric mode, or engine mode. The example of a full hybrid is the Toyota Prius but today many automakers now offer full hybrids. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) have both an internal combustion engine and electric motor. These vehicles are powered by gasoline (petrol/octane), and a battery, which is charged up with electricity by plugging into an electrical outlet or charging station. Electric vehicles (EVs) also called battery electric vehicles are propelled by an electric motor powered by rechargeable battery packs. No other fuel source is used, and there is no internal combustion engine. Here are few of the drawbacks of a hybrid car:-hybrid cars are often less power than gasoline powered engine and more suited for city driving and not for speed and acceleration. Hybrid cars are comparatively expensive than a regular petrol car but that extra amount can be offset with lower running cost. Weight of hybrid car is higher due to a gasoline powered engine, a lighter electric motor and a pack of powerful batteries. The presence of dual engine, continuous improvement in technology led to higher maintenance cost and difficult to get good mechanics to repair the car. In case of an accident, the high voltage present inside the batteries can prove lethal for passenger. When you start up a hybrid vehicle, you may not even realize it! The engine is so quiet that you can hardly hear it all, this is true even when you are driving down the road. The unique engine and power supplies are the cause of this silence, even you can’t see out of the cars and nobody hears you are coming. The number of mainstream manufacturers are rushing to market hybrid and new electric cars with growing market demand. Such as Volvo announced that all its new cars will have a battery and electric motor by 2019. Mercedes, Audi, Toyota and Volkswagen are hot on the electric cars trail as well. Countries that have made early progress in the sale of electric cars, such as Norway, France, the Netherlands, and the UK, are expected to be among the leaders in 2040. Norway is currently the world leader in EV adoption per capita, thanks to substantial incentives, like an exemption from the 25% tax applied to vehicle sales. Norwegian buyers set a new record in June 2018, with 42% of new cars being EVs, including 27% from battery-only cars. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s states by 2040, 54% of new car sales and 33% of the global car fleet will be EVs. China, the U.S. and Europe make up over 60% of the global EV market in 2040. Lithium-ion battery demand from EVs will grow from 21GWh in 2016 to 1,300GWh in 2030. We expect 270GWh of large format battery cell production to be online globally by 2021, led by global suppliers including LG Chem, Samsung SDI, Lishen, CATL, Tesla and others. The supply chain will need to scale up further in the 2020 to meet demand. Fossil fuel demand will be displaced by the growing fleet of EVs. It projects 34% of cars on the road will be EVs by 2040 – 530 million EVs in total – which will displace up to 1272m Liters of transportation fuel per day. As per ExxonMobil 2040 Outlook for Energy, hybrid electric vehicles will reduce 40% of global light-duty vehicle sales in 2040 compared to about 3% in 2016. Bangladesh HVs market Emerging economies such as Bangladesh is not expected to see significant EV sales until late in the next decade, despite that country’s pledge that all new cars sold there will be electric by 2030. EVs and PEVs cars will not economical for us due to insufficient infrastructure, dusty environment, huge traffic and lack of electricity. Although in Bangladesh demand of full hybrid cards (FHC) are growing significantly considering fuel efficiency i.e. Toyota, Prius c, 1.5 L, 4 cylinder, automatic (variable gear ratios) runs average 20 km/Ltr of gasoline, its more than 50% fuel saving than conventional cars. As an environmental aspect a hybrid car produces 25 to 35% less in CO2 emissions than regular cars. Those who are living in cities in Asian countries including Dhaka have already realized how seriously air pollution has been poisoning life and degrading the environment. The world’s purest recorded urban air, recording just 2 µg/m3 of PM2.5 pollution and 4 µg/m3 of PM10. As per WHO data in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the annual mean concentration of PM10 particles: 158µg/m3 (WHO guidelines: 20 µg/m3) and PM2.5: 90µg/m3 (WHO guidelines: 10µg/m3). Faulty vehicles (diesel/gasoline run), huge number of CNG filling stations are contributing to air pollution. The government may cut the tax and supplementary duty (SD) on the import of old hybrid vehicles for fiscal 2018-19 to facilitate the use of such cars that offer better fuel economy than the conventional ones. Importers currently have to pay 20 percent SD to bring hybrid vehicles of up to 1,600cc. Reduction in import tariff will encourage increased imports HVs. This will reduce the pressure on gas used as fuel for cars. Engr. Md. Shahin Alom is a Deputy General Manager of MJL Bangladesh Limited.