POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Bangladesh has over 34,000MW of untapped wind power: report

Wind speed ranges from 5-7 mps in some areas.

Outdated wind speed models have caused Bangladesh to overlook its immense wind power potential, according to a report by the US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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New data produced by a USAID-funded wind mapping project revealed that on average, coastal areas and some parts of the mid-east have wind speeds approximately 5 to 7 metres per second at an elevation of 100 metres.

Speaking to the New Age newspaper, the study’s researchers said that Bangladesh may be able to harness as much as 34,000 MW of wind power, particularly because of advances in wind turbine technology.

New turbines typically require a wind speed 5-6 metres per second to produce financially viable projects. This is well within the wind speed range mapped in Bangladesh.

“With more accurate data combined with newer technology, what was previously not developable in now developable,” said Marc Jacobson, one of the study’s authors. “Using installed costs of other countries to represent what might be possible, we believe wind speeds in the 5.75 to 7.75 metres per second, could theoretically produce a total of ~34,000MW wind power,” he said.

“Practically, the amount of developable potential might only be one third of this 34,000MW. But still that is significant opportunity for Bangladesh – more than 10,000MW and warrants further investigation,” he added.

Jacobson noted that Bangladesh may well become like the state of Indiana, where the wind power sector boomed almost overnight. “We hope the same thing happens here in Bangladesh. Frequently, old projections made with 50-metre turbine technology and 15 years old models, you will not demonstrate enough wind. If you measure at higher elevation, using more sophisticated models and applying the improved efficiency of newer turbine technology the result would be changed,” he said.

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