While China continues to push for work to be resumed on the Myitsone Dam in Myanmar, it’s own Three Gorges Corp. has begun construction on a dam that will flood the last free-flowing portion of the middle Yangtze River. From Reuters:
The 30 billion yuan ($4.75 billion) Xiaonanhai dam is decried by environmentalists because it will flood a nature reserve designed to protect about 40 species of river fish.
Completion of the dam would turn the middle section of the Yangtze into a series of reservoirs, leaving “no space for fish”, said environmentalist Ma Jun, who has been active for over two years in trying to prevent the dam.
“This is the last one, the last section in 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) along the Yangtze that was left for endangered or local fish species. This would be their last habitat,” Ma told Reuters.
A ceremony was held to commence early-stage preparation, including building a road and laying power lines and water pipes, said Zhu Guangming, news department director at Three Gorges Corp.
The 30 billion yuan (US$4.75 billion) dam would be the last in a series of 12 dams along the Yangtze, the rest of which are all completed or under construction.
The series will stretch inland from the Three Gorges Dam, which has created an inland reservoir more than 600 kilometers long that has allowed the city of Chongqing to develop into an inland port. When completed, the Xiaonanhai dam is designed to produce 1.76 gigawatts, a fraction of the 22.50GW that the Three Gorges Dam will produce when it reaches full capacity.
The National Development and Reform Commission has issued preliminary approval.
China wants to raise installed power capacity by 470GW to 1,437GW by 2015? the largest in the world. At least 110GW of the new capacity will be from hydro power – equivalent to five Three Gorges hydropower projects. Current hydropower capacity is 216GW, also the world’s largest.