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Sustainable Renewable Energy for RMG Industry

Global climate is changing rapidly. Forest is declining and sea level is going up due to quick civilization. Climate change and global warming are the two most common burning issues in the world considering frequent natural disaster. Fossil fuel is one of the top reasons for changing global climate. On the other hand stock of fossil fuel is declining tremendously. Alternative energy source is expected to continue development tasks. Thus all are emphasizing to increase renewable energy utility. Renewable energy is more inevitable nowadays considering the prevailing energy crisis and global demand for green energy. Globally carbon neutral economy is getting huge popularity and consumers are becoming more concerned about the carbon footprint of the products they are consuming. Today’s topic is Sustainable Renewable Energy for RMG Industry. In the context of renewable energy in RMG sector, we can represent Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world with a huge population of about 18 million people that creates big risk, especially for poor people. Though before it was known as agro-based economy but in recent time Bangladesh has witnessed steady economic growth thanks to supporting from industries. In the coming days, this growth trend will be led by the industries and service sectors. It is expected that with a huge industrial growth and rise in service sector, Bangladesh has huge potential to be a part of future leader, with a steady growth in industrialization; but demand for energy is also on the rise putting a huge pressure on the limited natural resources of the country. Moreover, the environmental cost of production is also a serious concern as a climate vulnerable nation.

Against this framework, energy efficiency and renewable energy could be two scientific stepping stones towards a sustainable growth of the country. Currently Bangladesh power generation capacity has increased to about 15,550 MW of which share of renewable energy (RE) is only 2.76%. As per the power system master plan, the government has targeted to increase the share of RE to 10% of the total power generation by 2020, which is about 2000 MW. To achieve that target, the government has already taken some projects with major focus on solar power that is solar heating, solar boating, pump irrigation, mini-grid, waste to energy, windmill, , and biomass etc. Bangladesh RMG industry has set a target of USD50 billion from apparel exports. So the sector requires a sustainable supply of energy. To achieve this targets, the industry already taken some initiatives in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The pact project being implemented in 215 wet processing factories to reduce energy consumption of about 1.9 million MW per year. On the other hand, in recent years a good number of RMG factory have achieved LEED green certificate from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). It’s a remarkable achievement in RMG industry. A green factory consumes about 40% less energy than a regular factory and generates scientific percentage of energy from renewable sources. It also creates a good reputation and image among buyers. Thus garment owners encourage building Eco-friendly industry. But there is a controversy about the cost of RE generation through solar projects. Moreover, impracticable return on investment makes it more unattractive to the investors. Though there is green finance facility for investing but return on investment and price of solar PV does not make attractive. Renewable energy especially rooftop has the potential to diversify the energy source for the Bangladeshi RMG sector as well and also improve energy reliability given the sharp reductions in cost of solar PV panels that have witnessed in the last two to three years. Our experience is that roof-top PV can substitute 15% to 20% of electricity demand subject to production patterns. Though initial stage requires huge capital for the installation of renewable energy but should consider return of benefit which is about 25 to 30 years. Thus government should encourage and finance industrial owners to use energy efficient electrical equipment’s such as led light, inverter technology devises in production process in lieu of traditional equipment’s. Sufficient ventilation in production floor can help to reduce high temperature.

Non-renewable will eventually decline and becoming too environmentally damaging to retrieve. Considering this in recent times Bangladesh RMG industry is also investing heavily to make more environmentally friendly products with less carbon footprint. More support to this initiative is needed to keep up the momentum. Garment is a labor-based industry. So bio-gas and rooftop solar PV panels are the two most options for RMG owners to introduce renewable energy. To make green renewable energy is encouraged worldwide in lieu of fossil fuel.

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