Empowering Bangladesh with clean energy today means a brighter, sustainable future for generations to come – U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas .

“Empowering Bangladesh with clean energy today means a brighter, sustainable future for generations to come,” notedU.S. Ambassador Peter Haas today at the EMK Center, at theIndo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) in Dhaka.

The forum is the premier public-private U.S. government event to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the United States and its partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

This year’s event will convene 500 leaders from across the region, including through a live stream for virtual participation and satellite events in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The one-day event in Manila, Philippines, is co-hosted by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.

IPBF connects CEOs, project developers, government officials, and sources of financing for priority infrastructure in emerging Indo-Pacific economies.

Through speeches, breakout panels, and business matchmaking, participants will learn and share their insights on the latest trends, opportunities, and solutions to support infrastructure across all sectors. IPBF is also a chance to learn more about government tools and programs to support U.S. participation in the region’s priority projects.

The key themes and topics for 2024 are:

  • Clean Energy
  • Digital Transformation
  • Supply Chain Resiliency
  • Transportation Infrastructure
  • Emerging Technologies

Attachment: Copy of Ambassador Haas’ Remarks (As Prepared):

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  I would like to welcome you to the Edward M. Kennedy Center for today’s discussion on Building the Foundation for Clean Energy in Bangladesh.

I would like to recognize Ambassador Ausan Jr. from the Philippines.  Today his government is co-hosting, with my government, the sixth Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila.  The IPBF is an event that connects business leaders, project developers, government officials, and sources of financing for priority infrastructure in emerging Indo-Pacific economies.

Many of you are here because you know the world’s fossil fuel supply is finite.  Fossil fuels may be in short supply in the coming years.This underscores the urgency to advance a sustainable, equitable, and just energy transition to clean and renewable energy resources.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 shocked the energy market in Bangladesh, like in many parts of the world.  Countries became acutely aware of their dependencies on foreign sources of fuel.  The impact of that act of aggression sheds a light on the interconnectedness of the global energy supply.

The lesson we take away from this is clear.  Russia has shown the world it will hold energy infrastructure hostage to achieve its imperious objectives.  All nations, therefore, must develop a plan to solidify their energy security based on a diversified portfolio of resources.

Bangladesh is fortunate with its domestic supply of natural gas.  I am proud to say that U.S. businesses have been instrumental in allowing Bangladesh to utilize those resources to drive its remarkable economic development over the last two decades.  But as I mentioned before, those supplies are not infinite.  And while Bangladesh may soon find more gas in new locations, eventually those too will run out.

Renewable and clean energy resources are the key to this energy transition for Bangladesh, for South Asia, and for the world.  Finding ways to harness solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, and other energy sources is the path to energy security and needed to support continued economic growth and sustainable development.  To help Bangladesh reach this goal, my government has been working with the Bangladeshi government, the private sector, international financial institutions, and like-minded governments to build the foundation for this country’s clean energy transition.

I am pleased that we have so many dedicated professionals with us here today representing the technical, financial, legal, and policy expertise needed to drive this transition.  You all know better than me the challenges we face as we push forward:

  • Finding effective means to decarbonize our existing economic infrastructure;
  • Seamlessly integrating intermittent energy resources into national grids which are already struggling to keep up with demand;
  • Developing abundant supplies of cleaner fuel sources, such as green hydrogen;
  • Ensuring that countries have access to finance for clean and renewable energy technologies; and
  • Negotiating regional energy trading agreements where politics may trump economic advancement (to name just a few).

For Bangladesh to achieve a just energy transition, it will take contributions from government, private sector, and civil society.  It will require good policies in place to incentivize smart investments and cross-border electricity trade, privatization of underperforming state-owned assets, adoption of new technologies, and a phasing out of the most damaging fossil fuel power generation facilities.

This will not happen overnight.  It will take years to accomplish.  But we can accomplish it faster if we work together and share our collective knowledge.


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