The government of Bangladesh has given the green light to a Denmark-Bangladeshi consortium to build the country’s first 500MW offshore wind farm.

The partnership consists of Denmark-based investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Danish wind project developer Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) and Bangladesh’s Summit Group. The three companies will carry out the feasibility study and the first stage of the project in the next three years.

Located near Cox’s Bazar – a city in southeast Bangladesh – the wind farm will cost $1.3bn and will be linked to the country’s national grid via an onshore substation.

The government approval comes at a time when air pollution is reaching critical levels in Bangladesh. According to IQAir, a Swiss air quality tech company, in 2022, the average air quality score in the country was 13.2 times above the WHO-recommended guideline value.

With pollution fast becoming a health concern for the Majority World, several international organisations and institutions have come up with funds to help governments struggling with the net-zero transition.

At the end of October, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU) offered €395m ($422m) to fund renewable energy projects in Bangladesh that could help reduce carbon emissions and bolster the country’s clean energy development.

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The EIB investment, totalling €350m in loans, will be used for utility-scale renewable energy generation. The rest of €45m – representing an EU grant – will include €6m in technical assistance to ensure all sub-projects comply with international market practices, as well as EIB’s environmental and social standards.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina commented in the October announcement: “We are confident that this initiative will enable developing countries such as Bangladesh to fight climate change, to address infrastructure gaps, invest in renewable energy, digital innovation, healthcare, education and much more. The Global Gateway is a sign of friendship, of partnership, of trust, of symbiotic interdependence.”

Founded in 2012, CIP is the world’s largest fund manager, specialising in greenfield renewable energy investments. In July 2023, CIP and COP announced plans to invest $1.3bn to open an offshore wind farm in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh.

Preliminary studies show hundreds of direct and indirect jobs will be created during the construction phase of the wind farm, alongside dozens of high-skilled permanent positions for the 30-year operational phase of the project.