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Friday, July 6, 2012

China's controversial Three Gorges dam completed

Blogman's Notes: The biggest and most dangerous hydro-electric project in the world has now been completed at a cost that was 4 times higher than the original estimate! Someone made a ship load of money on this project that displaced 1.3 million and would have better served the Chinese people with a series of smaller dams. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen since the dam is in an earthquake zone. If it ever breaks, it will be the greatest man made disaster in history!
The final turbine of China's massive Three Gorges dam has been connected to the power grid, marking the completion of a controversial hydropower project that cost the country more than £38bn and displaced at least 1.3 million people.
The installation of the project's 32nd 700-megawatt unit on Wednesday brought total capacity up to 22.5 gigawatts (GW), accounting for 11% of the country's total hydroelectric capacity. Britain's largest power station, Drax, produces 4GW.
"The complete operation of all the generators makes the Three Gorges dam the world's largest hydropower project, and the largest base for cleanenergy," Zhang Cheng, general manager of the project's operator, China Yangtze Power, told a ceremony.
The construction of the world's biggest hydropower plant began in 1994 and its first generating unit was connected to the grid in July 2003.
The official state news agency Xinhua said the dam had already generated a total of 564.8bn kilowatt-hours, saving nearly 200m tonnes of coal a year.
But the project, located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze river, cost 254bn yuan (£26bn), four times the original estimate, and another 123.8bn yuan (£12bn) has been spent on "follow-up work".
The project's 185-metre dam and 600km reservoir have forced the relocation of at least 1.3 million residents, and the government has acknowledged that earthquake and landslide risks have also increased in the region.
Hydropower construction slowed after building work on the dam was completed in 2006, with several large-scale projects vetoed because of the soaring costs of handling those displaced and protecting the environment.
But Beijing is now committed to bringing another 140GW of hydropower capacity on line between 2011 and 2015 to meet its renewable energy targets.

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