Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Neusprachliche Südasienstudien


New publication by Dieter Reinhardt
Dieter Reinhardt's study 'Coal, Capital and Conflict, The Rampal Power Plant in Bangladesh, the Protection of the Sundarbans and the Role of German Companies' has been published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. In it, he describes the causes for the extreme endangerment of the Sundarbans, the largest contiguous mangrove forest area in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covers a large part of the coast of Bangladesh and is a natural protective barrier against the increasingly strong cyclones in the Bay of Bengal triggered by climate change. Only a few kilometres north of this protected area, the "Rampal" coal-fired power plant is being built, in which the Stuttgart-based company Fichtner GmbH is significantly involved.

For almost 10 years, Fichtner GmbH has been the lead engineering firm for the construction of this power plant and the associated Mongla coal port. The Rampal power plant will go into operation in the course of 2022. In the future, about 200 container ships per year will pass through the mangroves to supply the power plant with almost 4 million tonnes of imported coal. Waste and pollutants threaten the regional ecosystem and the population. The construction is justified with the necessary industrialisation of the country.
The author shows why the construction of this coal-fired power plant is an anachronism. Bangladesh has very large, almost untapped potentials of renewable energies, which are considerably cheaper than fossil fuels. Despite very large and diverse protests in Bangladesh and numerous studies by scientists inside and outside Bangladesh showing the very large negative impacts of the power plant on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sundarbans, the construction of the power plant could not be prevented. In Germany, limited criticism of the extensive involvement of Fichtner GmbH in this power plant project began very late.   
Posted on 12 May 2022
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