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- Socio-technical transformations towards low-carbon energy systems are on the way in developed countries. Conversely, developing countries tend to be locked in fossil fuels and foster coal-based energy structures, emphasizing reliable and cost-effective energy provision and sidelining environmental concerns. In this study, we identified and analysed the predominant factors related to coal-based power generation in Bangladesh. We applied a mixed-method approach, initially conducting a systematic literature review and, subsequently, semi-structured expert interviews to identify and validate relevant factors. We then assessed their relative importance using an Analytical Hierarchy Process based on expert judgments. The results of this assessment reveal that socio-economic aspects and environmental issues scored highest, while technological aspects and sector regulations were considered to be less relevant for large-scale coal power implementation. We conclude that future energy policies created in Bangladesh will need to use appropriate legal instruments and address issues such as human displacement and resettlement, low levels of public acceptance, health hazards and environmental pollution. Participative policy frameworks should be deployed in coal plant projects, and active monitoring systems are necessary to reduce the negative consequences associated with increased electrification and energy consumption. To address foreseeable structural challenges, it furthermore will be crucial to explore sustainable alternatives.
- •Identification of challenges and problems for coal-based power in Bangladesh.•Assessment of relative importance of relevant factors with AHP.•Socio-economic, environmental and legal factors score high in the assessment.•Technological aspects and sector regulations score relatively low.•Long-term impacts of current policy stance need to be considered.