• Monday, Oct 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:28 am

Bangladesh mulling dramatic switch, away from coal power plants

  • Published at 06:09 pm July 31st, 2020
Nasrul Hamid
File photo for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Nasrul Hamid Dhaka Tribune

Plans for 26 coal power plants under review, but Rampal, Matarbari and Payra to continue

Bangladesh could be set for a dramatic switch away from coal power as plans for the construction of 26 out of 29 coal-fired power plants are under review.

“We are keeping the three coal-fired power plants that are under construction. At present, we are aiming for [40 to 41GW of total generation capacity], where only 5GW is coal based,” State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul said in webinar arranged by the Centre for Policy Dialogue, according to online news portal China Dialogue.

“We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants,” the minister added.

The three coal power plants that are to proceed as planned, accounting for about 5GW of power generation capacity, are those under construction at Rampal, Matarbari, and Payra.

The other 26 planned coal power plants account for approximately 28GW of power generation capacity, according to an Australian organization that tracks fossil fuel investment, reports China Dialogue.

The main reason for the switch from coal power is the mounting cost of importing coal, crashes in the price of oil and gas making them more competitive with coal and thereby increasing the viability of renewables. 

“Coal power is no longer a cheap option and it’s becoming more expensive for imported coal. Hence, the government is reconsidering its earlier plan on coal-power generation in its energy mix,” Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said in the CPD webinar.

The financiers of the planned power plants include Chinese, Japanese and Indian export credit and international cooperation agencies. Chinese construction companies are involved in up to 16.5GW worth of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, while Japanese companies are in distant second with 2.4GW worth of EPC contracts.

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