China the world leader in hydro
China Electricity Council (CEC) president Liu Zhenya announced that the country’s installed capacities for wind and hydro power had grown to be the world’s largest.
The country is rapidly increasing its construction of hydro power projects. The country is already home to the Three Gorges Dam Project (TGP), the world’s largest hydro power complex project, which includes approximately one million square kilometres of drainage area and averages a runoff of 451 billion cubic metres annually. The dam stands 185 metres high and stretches 2,309 metres wide.
Although the increase in hydroelectric dams is seen by many as positive, allowing China to decrease its dependence on coal and reducing the need to import different energy sources due to the country’s rapid economic growth, there are still concerns.
he long-term ecological effects of the Three Gorges Dam have been described as ‘possibly catastrophic,’ and environmentalists have claimed the dam will disrupt heavy silt flows in the river and could cause rapid silt build-up in the reservoir, creating an imbalance upstream and depriving agricultural land and fish downstream of essential nutrients.
There was also outcry when 1.27 million people were forced to relocate for the dam in September 2009.
Liu noted, however, that China is witnessing soaring growth in other clean energy sectors. Its solar photovoltaic power capacity, he said, has been increasing by more than 50 per cent each year and China will continue with this commitment to renewable energy, he said.
The plan is continue to optimize the country’s energy struture by tapping into new energy sources in a bid to secure future energy supply.