Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bangladesh cancels 10 coal-fired power plants



Bangladesh cancels 10 coal-fired power plants

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Labourers unload coal from a cargo ship in Gabtoli on the outskirts of Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. AFP

Bangladesh cancels 10 coal-fired power plants

Bangladesh announced on June 27 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, the state minister for power and energy, said the decision was taken in light of technological changes and as dozens of countries halt new coal-fired power projects due to their impact on the environment.

“By 2041, there is a plan to generate 40 per cent of power from renewable energy,” the ministry of energy and power said.

The minister said Dhaka would also import hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan.

The scrapped power plants would have accounted for 8,451MW 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 1,320MW plant on the ecologically fragile Maheshkhali island and a 1,200MW project set to be constructed by a Bangladeshi-Japanese joint venture.

Most of the plants were set to be built in Bangladesh’s coastal region, home to 20 million people.

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.

“It is a very positive step. We thank the government for the bold and courageous step,” Jamil told AFP.

But he added that he would like to see a major coal-fired power plant near the world’s largest mangrove forest also ditched.

The controversial 1,320MW 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 UN 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 defence against storm surges and cyclones that have killed thousands of people in impoverished coastal villages and islands in recent years, and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

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

Jamil also said the prime minister, as the head of a forum for nations vulnerable to climate change, must also “develop a roadmap to come out of coal fully”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the