October 20, 2016 Read More →

U.N. Agency Joins Opponents of Rampal Coal Plant in Bangladesh

Katy Daigle and Julhas Alam for the Associated Press:

DHAKA, Bangladesh — The U.N. agency devoted to preserving world heritage has joined environmental groups urging Bangladesh to halt plans for a massive coal-fired power plant near ecologically sensitive mangrove forests on the coast. UNESCO says it poses a “serious threat” to a region that protects the nation from flooding and holds one of the world’s last populations of wild tigers.

Bangladesh countered on Thursday that the concerns were misplaced, and that it would continue with construction as the 1.3-gigawatt Rampal power station was crucial for expanding electricity capacity in a country where only six out of 10 people have access. It said the report released this week by UNESCO and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ignored government assurances that the plant would be safe….

A report in June by a global energy research institute disputed that, saying the Rampal power plant is “fraught with unacceptable risk” including a location that falls within a cyclone corridor, heavy local opposition and a risk of higher taxes and energy prices to cover some $3 billion in planned subsidies.

“The project is being designed around outdated supercritical technology and is being heavily subsidized by the Indian and Bangladeshi governments,” the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said in the report , adding that it “suspects that the project is being promoted as a means to sell Indian coal to Bangladesh.”

The institute also questioned the effort to ramp up electricity by burning more coal, a significant source of carbon dioxide, at a time when the world is trying to curb the release of climate-warming emissions.

Bangladesh insists, however, that the plant is key to reaching its target of 24 GW of electricity capacity by 2021. That’s more than double the 10 GW capacity it logged in 2014, the vast majority of which is fueled by burning coal. Demand often outstrips supply, resulting in shortages and blackouts.

Full article: UNESCO Urges Halt to Plan for Bangladesh Coal Plant in Delta

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