Enhancing Renewable Energy Investments and Access to Land in Bangladesh

Project details

Country

Bangladesh

Client

World Bank

Project Timeframe

February - December 2022

Key Services

Research & Analysis

Land Administration

Project Design, Monitoring & Evaluation

With ambitious renewable energy plans for Bangladesh, access to land suitable for RE development is crucial and is among the main reasons why solar energy penetration at scale has lagged.

Bangladesh has set ambitious plans and targets for renewable energy (RE), seeking to generate more than 2000 MW a year. Currently the country’s RE capacity is just 750 MW, and it largely stems from small solar home systems. Utility scale solar requires large amounts of land and acquiring or leasing large areas of land is challenging particularly given the dense population, food security concerns and respecting the policy not to use agricultural land for other purposes. A strategy is in place to direct solar park investments to vacant, marginalised, and fallow government and private owned lands leveraging in particular Build Operate Own (BOO) PPPs with Independent Power Producers (IPP).

Access to land is difficult to navigate due to disconnected legal and revenue land records, informal land market and outdated revenue records and settlement maps. Poor records and informality therefore hamper not only energy projects but all planning, investment, development, and land revenue flow in Bangladesh.

The objective of this project is to analyze and strengthen the government’s capacity to identify suitable sites for RE investments, especially solar, and secure access to these land sites by analyzing the relevant land administration framework in Bangladesh, and develop and test a methodology to identity, allocate and access land suitable for RE investments.

LEI will be responsible for the following three components:

  • Component 1: Access to Land for Renewable Energy Investments
    LEI will analyse the current situation of access to land in Bangladesh for energy investments, in particular RE. LEI will conduct a desk review, meet with various government officials, and review the legal and institutional arrangements at different levels of government. LEI will examine the zoning requirements, access stakeholders, land suitability, processes, and risks involved in developing RE at utility scale (with a focus on solar energy). Based on this analysis recommendations will be provided for sectorial and cross sectorial actions to improve access to land for RE investments.
  • Component 2: Systematic Energy Site Identification Pilot
    Completing a methodology for a multi-criteria decision-making tool will be tested to systematically identify large areas of land suitable for RE in Bangladesh. The suitability of locations will be measured according to social, environmental and RE power requirements (generation, transmission, and distribution) as well as factors of accessibility, costs, and risks. The results will inform decision makers, providing preliminary indications of site feasibility.
  • Component 3: Repurposing of Coal Power Plant Sites for RE
    LEI will conduct a detailed analysis of land for up to 10 cancelled coal power plants to determine how suitable the land is for RE development.  A multi-criteria decision-making tool with geospatial analysis capabilities will be developed to evaluate how suitable each site is for RE investment. This will take into account identifying and examining any land planned for ancillary facilities and additional adjacent land areas that could potentially be developed for RE and providing site specific recommendations for necessary enhancements. Site conceptual layouts, RE transmission readiness, seeking a social license to operate and PPP readiness options will be prepared. Key stakeholder consultations and training on the multi-criteria decision-making tool will take place.
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