first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享China Dialogue:Bangladesh’s minister of power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, surprised energy watchers recently when he said the country is planning to “review” all but three of 29 planned coal plants.“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,” said Minister Hamid during a webinar run by the Centre for Policy Dialogue. “We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants.”Bangladesh has one of the largest coal power pipelines in the world, a total of 29 power plants amounting to 33.2GW of capacity, according to a 2019 study by an Australian organisation that tracks fossil fuel investment. If the minister’s comments become government policy, up to 26 power plants accounting for 28GW of capacity could be put under review. That’s 90% of the coal pipeline.“It would dramatically swing the nation’s power development away from coal,” said Simon Nicholas, energy finance analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).“Coal power is no more 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”, Mohammad Hossain, director general of the ministry’s research body, Power Cell, commented in the webinar, echoing Minister Hamid’s suggestion to review coal power plans.The 29 coal power plants currently in Bangladesh’s pipeline are at varying stages of development. The three that Minister Hamid suggested will continue as planned – Rampal, Matarbari and Payra – have entered construction and are nearing completion. Their financiers include Chinese, Japanese and Indian export credit and international cooperation agencies. Other projects have signed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals, equity investment deals or are only at the stage of memoranda of understanding.Though of a much larger scale than elsewhere, Bangladesh’s potential pivot from coal is not an isolated incident this year. In June, the 700MW Qasim coal power project in Pakistan was cancelled, in large part due to lack of demand. A number of Vietnam’s coal power projects, long plagued with financing and construction start problems, are also looking increasingly unfeasible in the post-Covid world. In a consultation session held earlier this month, Vietnam’s Energy Institute suggested that the country’s next decade-long power plan due to come into force next year could see up to 9.5GW of planned coal capacity cancelled and 7.5GW postponed until at least 2030, about half of the country’s total planned coal power.[Tom Baxter]More: Bangladesh may ditch 90% of its planned coal power Bangladesh taking second look at 28GW of planned coal-fired generating capacitylast_img