Approximately 37,220 jobs, including 8,919 new ones, would be created after the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy by 2030 as per Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP) 2023.
The findings of a report titled ‘Energy Transition in Bangladesh: Its Implication on Employment and Skills in the Power and Energy Sector’ were disclosed at a seminar organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at BRAC Center Inn in Dhaka on Thursday.
The study specifically considers several targets on energy transition mentioned in different draft policies such as Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP) and Renewable Energy Policy 2023 also utilises the data from the Bangladesh Labour Force Survey 2017.
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at CPD, made the keynote presentation at the seminar where Fahmida Akhter, additional secretary, the ministry of labour and employment, was present as a panelist.
In 2030, the total power generation from fossil fuel-based plants is expected to decrease to 17,945 MW from current 24,823 MW, Moazzem mentioned in his presentation.
The renewable energy sector will generate a significant number of new jobs such as energy technicians, storage specialists, grid engineers, energy analysts, environment planners and consultants, energy efficiency experts, green building designers and architects, according to the CPD study.
The fossil fuel industry will cut jobs such as fuel handling and storage personnel, ash disposal and pollution control specialists, boiler operators and combustion engineers, fuel gas desulfurization (FGD) technicians, coal yard workers and conveyor operators, oil and gas refinery workers.
The majority of Bangladesh’s electricity over 85 per cent is generated from fossil fuel, 50 per cent natural gas and 4.5 per cent from renewable energy annually, the report said, adding that it is based on the assumption that 85 per cent of renewable energy will come from solar thermal plants, 10 per cent from biomass and 5 per cent from wind, with constant solar PV.
It said the shift requires a new set of skills and knowledge in the industry, expertise in technologies such as wind, solar, hydro is increasingly vital especially in the design, installation, operation and maintenance of renewable energy systems.
There are some successful countries in employment transition after energy transition such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Spain, USA, South Korea, Scotland, and Australia who retain investments in renewable energy projects, focus on regional economic growth and many more initiatives, the report said.
Khosru Md Selim, professor at Independent University, Bangladesh said, “We have to face some challenges during this transition period. Trained workforce like vocational training should be emphasised also industry academia should be our main concern.”
Dr Ijaz Hossain, former professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said, “We should start this a long ago, the government has already gone to anti-renewable energy by implementing coal, gas, furnace oil-fired power plants. We have already 5,000 MW coal-fired capacity and plant for another 2,000 MW is under construction which is double standard of renewable energy policy,” he added.
“The job market in future in the energy sector is fantastically good though there are a lot of areas to work. We need to implement the project on time, avoid bureaucracy, and logistic support,” said Humayun Rashid, president of International Business Forum Bangladesh.
He also said, “We have to focus on cross-border distribution of electricity from Nepal, and Bhutan for the northern part of the country.”
Bangladesh Power Management Institutes Rector Mohammad Alauddin said, “We have the policy but we should focus on how it can be implemented. We should train our human resources as private sector is ready to invest but they need business model.”
“The energy transition involves various players and technologies, requiring interdisciplinary skills encompassing engineering, economics, environmental science and politics for successful management.”
Fahmida Akhter, additional secretary, the ministry of labour and employment said, “We have to consider employment transmission and we are working on this. We need to discuss the issue with the employers’ and workers’ forums. Then we will take next steps.”