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Can Bangladesh beat decarbonization challenge to achieve growth?

Travails of coal power project point to difficult economic road ahead

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina aims for Bangladesh to become a developed nation, but the nation's flawed power supply system could derail such plans. The country's giant Matarbari coal-fired power project has been scaled back amid concerns over its environmental impact. (Photos by Reuters and Toru Takahashi)

TOKYO -- Located in the middle of a vast salt field in southern Bangladesh, the Matarbari coal-fired power plant is big by any standard. When completed, the $6 billion project is expected to generate 1.2 gigawatts of electricity, equivalent to a large nuclear reactor and enough to meet 30% of the power demand in the Dhaka metropolitan area.

Named the Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project, the facility consists of two thermal units and has been 70% financed by yen loans from Japan. Its power generation efficiency, projected at 42%, will be among the highest in the world for coal power plants.

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