The Government of Bangladesh has scrapped its plans to build ten coal-fired power plants as the nation looks to renewable resources to increase its power generation.

The move comes in response to increases in coal prices and concerns raised by climate activists.

Power and Energy Minister Nasrul Hamid said that the government had rejected the approval for the power plants as the construction progress was deemed unsatisfactory.

Mr Hamid added that these plants could have generated 8,451MW of power.

The majority of the power plants were planned to be built in Bangladesh’s coastal region, which is home to 20 million people.

They also included a 1,320MW plant, planned to be built on the ecologically fragile Maheshkhali island, and a 1,200MW project to be constructed by a Bangladeshi-Japanese joint venture.

Green activists in the country welcomed the latest move, saying that the coal-fired plants would have caused irreparable damage to the country’s ecology.

Bangladesh aims to generate 40% of power from renewable energy by 2041.

In an effort to increase its renewable energy capacity, the country intends to import hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan.

Last year, Bangladesh planned to build 18 coal-fired plants in order to increase the amount of power generated by such plants, which currently account for 8% of the country’s power distribution.

Mohammad Hossain, head of the Bangladesh Energy Ministry’s technical arm Power Cell, was quoted by Reuters as saying that out of the total planned power plants, ten have been scrapped under the government’s latest move.

Mr Hossain said: “There is a concern globally about coal and we have to adhere to that. The government is committed to reducing carbon emissions.

“When Bangladesh produced an energy masterplan in 2010, coal was cheap and the best option after gas. But dramatically falling prices for solar power and somewhat cheaper natural gas have changed the picture.

“Considering all this, we thought we needed to be more renewable.”