International Development Enterprises (iDE), a US-based nongovernmental organisation, has launched a project to provide clean energy to off-grid hatcheries and communities in southern Bangladesh.
The project—Powering Aquaculture: Innovating Clean Energy Development for Off-Grid Hatcheries and Communities in Bangladesh—will be implemented in one or several coastal districts until June 2018.
Powering Aquaculture is being funded by the Powering Agriculture Energy Grand Challenge for Development, managed by USAID, the Sweden International Development Agency, the German Agency for International Cooperation, US-based power firm Duke Energy, and the US government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
iDE is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with over 30 years of experience in Bangladesh, working to improve the lives of low-income communities in collaboration with the private sector and supported by the Bangladesh government. iDE's partner in implementing the project is Renewable World, a UK-based clean energy, non-profit organisation.
In Bangladesh, the fisheries market is growing at about 5.6 percent a year, providing livelihoods for an estimated 12 million people, with 1.4 million relying on it exclusively.
Fish hatcheries throughout the country—nearly 1,000 in total—are typically surrounded by a dense community of 350 to 500 households.
Nearly all households around the hatcheries have a small fish pond and rear fish using fingerlings from the hatchery for some of the year. They cannot, but would like to, increase their productivity if they could cost-effectively mobilise water during the dry season.
Instead, they rely upon expensive, polluting diesel and kerosene consumption that threatens the food chain, the environment and human health, said Deepak Khadka, iDE's country director in Bangladesh, at the launch of the project in Dhaka on Monday.
Nick Virr, global programme manager at Renewable World, said the diesel-run pumps used by hatcheries are only 35 percent efficient, whereas renewable energy is as high as 90 percent efficient.
“For hatcheries, it is a huge loss. There is also an environmental cost. On the other hand, adjacent households have to rely on expensive kerosene.”
The Powering Aquaculture project aims to improve the nexus between access to renewable energy technologies and improved agricultural productivity for low-income households.
The project is developing a solar/wind micro-grid system, a mobile network metering and facilitating an innovative joint venture business model that enables national companies to partner with hatcheries to own and operate these micro-grids with the oversight of public sector agencies. It will enable the supply of clean energy to surrounding communities.
This clean energy will simultaneously serve the needs of hatcheries for water mobilisation, households for lighting, and of surrounding small farmers for water pumping throughout the year. This system will increase demand for fish fingerlings and increase profits, strengthen local economic prospects for all parties, and enable profitable opportunities for companies in renewable energy systems in the process.
Headquartered in Denver, USA, iDE works in 14 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America to create income and livelihood opportunities through market-led approaches.