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A Comprehensive Study of Micro-Hydropower Plant and Its Potential

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  • International Scholarly Research NetworkISRN Renewable EnergyVolume 2012, Article ID 635396, 10 pagesdoi:10.5402/2012/635396

    Research Article

    A Comprehensive Study of Micro-Hydropower Plant andIts Potential in Bangladesh

    Jahidul Islam Razan, Riasat Siam Islam, Rezaul Hasan, Samiul Hasan, and Fokhrul Islam

    Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Islamic University of Technology, BoardBazar, Gazipur 1704, Bangladesh

    Correspondence should be addressed to Jahidul Islam Razan, parthib [email protected]

    Received 23 October 2011; Accepted 14 November 2011

    Academic Editors: B. Ma and B. Mwinyiwiwa

    Copyright 2012 Jahidul Islam Razan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons AttributionLicense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properlycited.

    Depletion of fossil fuel and the inability to meet the rising demand of electricity are some drawbacks for the economic developmentof Bangladesh. Carbon emission done by developed world is also troubling the country. This paper focuses on the potential ofmicro-hydropower plant in Bangladesh due to its numerous rivers and canals providing off-grid power to the remote areas andalso to the areas that are still outside the main grid network. This paper reflects on the current energy scenario in Bangladesh, theneed to explore green energy thus proving how the establishment of widespread micro-hydropower plant can help overcome thecurrent power crisis and play a role in the economic progress of the country. The existing potential sites are mentioned and themeans to identify new sites are outlined by performing hydrology studies, topographic studies, head calculations, turbine selection,and so forth.

    1. Introduction

    Bangladesh, with its emerging commerce and industries, isfacing a daunting task to cope up with the power crisis.There is a lack of sufficient power generation capacity, andthe existing national grid network is unable to power thewhole nation. The rural and remote areas have a low-loaddemand but the electricity supply has been characterizedby high transmission and distribution costs, transmissionlosses, and heavily subsidized pricing. The demand for poweris increasing at a rapid pace although the generation ofpower has not increased at the same proportion. The gapbetween demand and supply of power is quite significant.The shortage of power generation capacity is estimated tobe around 2500 MW [1]. As a result, lack of a reliableelectricity service has deterred foreign investment and heldback economic growth. Energy consumption per capita isonly 154 KWhr which is much less than any of the developedcountries [2]. In order to overcome the heavy power crisisand rapid depletion of available resources, Bangladesh needsto opt for alternate energy sources in the form of fossilfuels and renewable energy sources. The roadmap to energysecurity and energy sustainability will be achieved only if

    the economic and environmental aspects are taken into con-sideration.

    Due to the huge contribution of 19% of the worldselectricity power from both large and small power plants,hydro power is the most widely used renewable energy [35]. Department of Energy (DOE) defines large hydropoweras power plants having generation capacity of more than30 MW [6]. Small hydropower plants are termed as havinga generation capacity of 100 KW to 30 MW [6]. Micro-hydropower plants are defined as having a generation capac-ity ranges from 5 KW to 100 KW [4]. Water heads of 2 meterscan be suitable to generate power efficiently with properimplementation of advanced technology. The energy prob-lems in remote and hilly areas exist due to the uneconomicalplanning of the grid network [3, 4]. Micro-hydropowerprovides low-cost solution for these remote sites. It providesa good solution for energy problems in remote and hillyareas where the extension of grid system is comparativelyuneconomical [7].

    In this paper, we have explored the potential of micro-hydropower plant as a source of renewable energy in order totackle the power crisis of Bangladesh with in-depth analysisof Bamerchara micro-hydropower unit as a model. Section 2

  • 2 ISRN Renewable Energy

    deals with the complete energy scenario in Bangladesh,Section 3 explains the necessity of exploration of alternativesources other than fossil fuel, Section 4 describes microhydro as a source of green power generation, Section 5demonstrates the parameters needed to be considered toexplore new potential sites for micro-hydropower gen-eration, Section 6 explains the economic considerations,Section 7 shows the potential micro-hydrosites already iden-tified, Section 8 describes the socioeconomic impacts due tothe establishment of micro-hydropower plant and economicfeasibility of installing these plants, and Section 9 draws theconclusion.

    2. Energy Scenario in BD

    The main sources of power generation are hydropower,biofuels, coal, and natural gas. Large-scale hydropower(>40 MW) generation has been established which leads toresettlements thus losing agricultural lands. The nation hasa high dependency on natural gas and hydropower forelectricity generation but, as mentioned previously, low percapita energy consumption. The reserve for these fossil fuelsis depleting at a high rate. At present the country doesnot have any energy security, and this is why after thefossil fuels are completely consumed, the country will facesevere energy crisis. That is a huge concern for the masspeople of the country. On the other hand, the country isseriously affected by the natural calamities. Thus, energysustainability is another important aspect that should betaken into consideration. All these factors lead to the inabilityto consider energy sustainability. Generating more powerfrom fossil fuels to overcome the gap between demand andsupply has made it even more difficult to attain energysustainability due to their high depletion rate. As a result, thecircumstances are such that alternative energy sources otherthan fossil fuels should be taken into consideration to have asecured and sustainable energy future.

    The current reserves for fossil fuels in Bangladesh shouldbe analyzed. Bangladesh has modest hydrocarbon resourcesand rich renewable energy sources especially in the form oftraditional energy. The Natural gas reserves in Bangladeshare likely to be depleted before 2020 which will bring thepower generation at a halt. In Barapukuria, the deposits ofCoal may supply about 250 MW [8]. When the demandsfor electricity would exceed 11000 MW, emergency measuresshould be taken to conserve energy, to achieve high-efficiencyplants, explore gas, and coal reserves to prevent the inevitabledisaster due to the lack of power supply. The Governmentof Bangladesh is planning to tackle the situation by rentingpower systems and coal-fired systems. But more importantlyenergy supplies using RETs must be developed and utilized.

    To fulfill the demands as estimated for 2020, powergeneration should be increased and government is providingthe following incentives as mentioned in the RenewableEnergy Policy 2008 and Government initiatives on RET 2009[9].

    (i) First are the policy sets targets for developing renew-able energy resources to meet five percent of the totalpower demand by 2015 and ten percent by 2020.

    (ii) Second is creating enabling environment and legalsupport to encourage the use of renewable energy.

    (iii) Third is implementing policies for mitigation of envi-ronmental issues arising out of use of renewableenergy.

    (iv) Fourth is processing of grid-connected renewable en-ergy projects.

    (v) Electricity generated from renewable energy projects,both in public and private sectors, may be purchasedby power utilities or any consumer through mutualagreement (up to 5 MW).

    (vi) To promote renewable energy in power sector, allrenewable energy equipments and related raw mate-rials in producing renewable energy equipments willbe exempted from charging 15% VAT.

    (vii) Bangladesh Bank has sanctioned a revolving fund of200 Crore Tk. for renewable energy projects.

    (viii) In addition to commercial lending, a network ofmicrocredit support system will be established espe-cially in rural and remote areas to provide financialsupport for purchases of renewable energy equip-ment.

    3. Necessity of Exploration of AlternativeSources Other than Fossil Fuel

    Bangladesh has very minimal contribution to global warm-ing in comparison with many other developed countries.Bangladesh shares less than 0.1% of global emissions ofCO2 compared with 24% of the USA and emits about 0.19tons of CO2 per capita [1]. Major areas of emissions arethe industries and power plants. In the rural areas burningof wood, dung, and crop residues causes air pollution andresults in severe health problems considerably for womenworking indoors. These pollution and emissions lead toenvironmental degradation which in turn causes increasedclimate risks and natural disasters.

    Although fossil and biofuels contribute to such pollution,there has been recent information that Bangladesh has over2 billion of low-sulphur content coal reserves. Also thereare reserves for natural gas and oil, where oil reserves areestimated to be 56.9 million barrels [10]. More initiatives toexplore such reserves should be taken but unfortunately theeconomic potential and efficient use of these resources arelimited due to lack of exploitation and distribution facilities.The large reserves of oil are present in Bangladesh but still90% of its oil demands are met through imports [8]. Forthe exploration and exploitation of these resources, requiredfunds and technologies are highly insufficient. Foreignintervention is always not profitable in terms of economicand environmental aspects. Leakage and

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