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DHAKA: Bangladesh announced Sunday that it has scrapped at least 10 major coal-fired power plants as it seeks to scale up its power generation from renewable energy sources. Nasrul Hamid, the state minister for power and energy, said the decision was taken in light of technological changes and as dozens of countries halt new coal-fired power projects due to their impact on the environment.

"By 2041, there is a plan to generate 40 percent of power from renewable energy," the ministry of energy and power said. The minister said Dhaka would also import hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan. The scrapped power plants would have accounted for 8,451 megawatts of power and included ambitious multi-billion dollar projects unveiled by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since she took office in January 2009.

The minister said they included a massive 1,320 megawatt plant on the ecologically fragile Maheshkhali island and a 1,200 megawatt project set to be constructed by a Bangladeshi-Japanese joint venture.

Most of the plants were set to be built in Bangladesh's coastal region, home to 20 million people.

The announcement is seen as a victory for green activists who have staged a series of protests against the coal-fired plants, saying they would cause irreparable damage to the country's fragile ecology.

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