Denmark's Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has submitted a plan to the government of Bangladesh for the development of a pioneering 500MW commercial offshore wind project off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, which it claims has potential to be the first in South Asia and could even hit the water before giant neighbour India.

CIP in conjunction with project delivery arm Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) has proposed the project in accordance with Dhaka’s Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP) policy framework, with future investments valued at $1.3bn, the twin global offshore wind players said.

COP confirmed to Recharge that it and CIP “are targeting a timeline from in-principle approval to project commissioning potentially as short as approximately five years, which makes this project competitive to Indian offshore wind projects in terms of [commencing operations] timing”.

Seeing a Bangladesh offshore wind farm in the water before it managed it would likely be a blow to India, which prides itself as a global green energy superpower but has seen its offshore wind ambitions stuck in the regulatory mire.

India still has zero offshore turbine capacity in place, despite setting an over-optimistic 5GW target for the end of last year. It has a 30GW offshore goal for 2030 and has started moves to tender areas off Tamil Nadu and Gujarat for development, but industry commentators remain cautious over how quickly it can move.

CIP and COP said the proposal comes at a crucial time for Bangladesh, as the nation has suffered from energy price shocks in the recent months due to its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Among larger nations, Bangladesh is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change due to its low-lying geography and the influence of the Monsoon season on flooding patterns.

“Bangladesh therefore needs to adapt rapidly to climate change, while simultaneously accessing cleaner, more efficient technologies that support decades of development and growth (and), a shift away from unstable fossil fuel imports,” CIP/COP stated.

“Once implemented, this offshore wind project will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh – and possibly South Asia, enabling a technology transfer that would accelerate the learning curve for a nascent industry and reduce barriers to entry for future projects.”

Danish cooperation

In early June, Bangladesh and Denmark approved a five-year joint action plan under a 2022 sustainable and green framework engagement agreement.

During a recent Dhaka visit Dan Jorgensen, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, agreed to a partnership in green and clean technologies and investment for sustainable development.

In their statement, CIP/COP also expressed the hope that their “multibillion-dollar proposal…could also kickstart a new wave of investment, driving Bangladesh towards a truly climate prosperous future.”

CIP manages ten funds and has raised over €25bn ($28bn) to date for investments in energy and associated infrastructure.

CIP says its funds focus on investments in offshore and onshore wind, solar PV, biomass and energy-from-waste, transmission and distribution, reserve capacity, storage, advanced bioenergy, and Power-to-X.

Note: Updates earlier version to include information on India