WORLD Bangladesh scraps coal-fired power plants for sustainability

WORLD

Bangladesh scraps coal-fired power plants for sustainability

Global Times

19:55, June 28, 2021

Workers pour molten metal into a mold at a dockyard in Keraniganj on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 1, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

Bangladesh announced Sunday that it has scrapped at least 10 major coal-fired power plants as it seeks to scale up its power generation from renewable energy sources.

Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power and energy, said the decision was taken in light of technological changes.

"By 2041, there is a plan to generate 40 percent of power from renewable energy," the ministry of energy and power said.

The scrapped power plants would have accounted for 8,451 megawatts of power and included ambitious multi-billion dollar projects unveiled by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since she took office in January 2009.

The minister said they included a massive 1,320-megawatt plant on the ecologically fragile Maheshkhali island and a 1,200-megawatt project set to be constructed by a Bangladeshi-Japanese joint venture.

The announcement is seen as a victory for green activists who have staged a series of protests against the coal-fired plants, saying they would cause irreparable damage to the country's fragile ecology.

Sharif Jamil, secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, the country's main environmental group, said they were happy with the announcement.

The controversial 1,320-megawatt power plant is being built at the southern coastal town of Rampal near the Sundarbans, a forest straddling Bangladesh and India that is home to the endangered Bengal tiger.

The United Nations culture and science agency said in 2016 there was a high chance that pollution from the $1.7 billion plant would "irreversibly damage" the Sundarbans.

The forest provides a defense against storm surges and cyclones that have killed thousands of people in impoverished coastal villages and islands in recent years.

The Rampal plant would be powered each year by nearly 5 million tons of coal transported by boat along fragile waterways.

Jamil also said the prime minister, must also "develop a roadmap to come out of coal fully."

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