Integrating variable renewable energy in the Bangladesh power system: a planning analysis
Integration of large-scale variable renewable energy (VRE) generation resources -- wind and solar -- into national grids has been gaining importance as costs of these technologies, especially that of solar, continues to fall rapidly. However, there continues to be a lack of a framework to systematically analyze the role played by large-scale VRE integration for most developing countries. This study develops such a framework and applies it to analyze VRE policies in Bangladesh. The study uses a least-cost planning approach to assess the volume of solar and wind that can technically and economically be integrated in the power system, accounting for spinning reserve generation capacity requirements and adequacy of transmission capacity. The study shows that solar and wind can provide a significant share of the 13 to 21 GW of new capacity needed by 2025 to meet rapidly growing electricity demand, although most of it does not pass the cost/benefit test in the near term till 2022. Efforts are also required to cope with what otherwise would be a large and costly increase in on demand ("spinning") reserve capacity. The analysis demonstrates how an investment strategy to cover peak demand, and prudent changes in system operational practices, allow for the system to provide the needed reserve capacity without a prohibitive increase in system costs. In addition, the study examines the adequacy of transmission capacity for the first large-scale solar and wind project in Bangladesh.