Posts tagged ‘Three Gorges Dam’

19/04/2015

Enforcing environmental rules: Saving fish and baring teeth | The Economist

ON TAKING over in February as China’s minister for environmental protection, Chen Jining said the country needed an environmental law that was “not a paper tiger” but rather a “sharp weapon with teeth of steel”. Early indications, among them the cancellation of a series of dam projects on the upper reaches of the Yangzi river, are that the former academic and university administrator intends to follow through on his fighting words.

State media have reported that the builders of the Yangzi’s Xiaonanhai dam—expected to cost 32 billion yuan ($5.1 billion) and to generate two gigawatts of electricity—were denied permission to continue because of the harm it would cause to a nature reserve that is the last remaining habitat for many species of rare fish. Work on its foundations began in 2012, but was halted while the environment ministry assessed the project. Two smaller dams on the same stretch of river were also rejected.

Activists in China welcomed the decision, saying it showed a new determination to enforce environmental rules. According to Ma Jin of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Chinese NGO in Beijing, the firms that applied to build the dams, led by the Three Gorges Project Corporation, had previously won permission for other dams that would endanger fish populations by arguing that the protected nature reserve near the Xiaonanhai project would guarantee their survival. That, he says, makes the project “particularly outrageous”.

via Enforcing environmental rules: Saving fish and baring teeth | The Economist.

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23/07/2014

China’s Next Great Water Project Uproots More Than 330,000 – Businessweek

China’s track record for forced relocations that accompany large infrastructure projects is dismal. Many of the 1.3 million people relocated during the construction of Three Gorges Dam in the 1990s and early 2000s were moved from ancestral villages and farmland, where they could profitably grow crops, to newly (often shoddily) built apartments, with no job training or employment help. The result: vanished earnings and increased social dislocation.

A child standing next to his family's possessions as residents in central China's Henan province make way for the South-to-North Water Diversion Project in 2010

So far, it appears that the relocation of more than 330,000 people during the ongoing construction of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project is somewhat better planned, although still deeply flawed. Beijing News looked at the fate of approximately 70,000 people relocated from homes in Hubei Province for the construction of the middle leg of the project, which aims to redirect water from China’s lush south to its arid north. The local government seems to be more aware of the importance of protecting migrants’ livelihoods, but that awareness hasn’t yielded simple solutions.

“It isn’t easy to tell people they must leave their homes,” Gufang Yan, a staffer at the Nanzhang Bureau of Immigration, told the newspaper. “Nobody gave us information about how to find a job; we did not know anything about recruitment,” said a man named Chen Yan, who was relocated for the project four years ago. He eventually managed to find work near his new home repairing cars, and he learned on the job.

via China’s Next Great Water Project Uproots More Than 330,000 – Businessweek.

26/03/2014

China’s Three Gorges replaces top executives amid graft probe | Reuters

China’s Three Gorges Corp, which built the world’s biggest hydropower scheme, has replaced its chairman and general manager, the company said, in the latest major reshuffle of a state-owned firm as the government steps up a fight on graft.

China's Three Gorges power company CEO Cao Guangjing makes his statement before the deal signing with Energia de Portugal in Lisbon December 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

Some officials of Three Gorges, set up in 1993 to run the hydropower scheme, were guilty of nepotism, shady property deals and dodgy bidding procedures, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog found in February.

The scandal has reignited public anger over the $59-billion dam, which was funded by a special levy paid by all citizens.

Chairman Cao Guangjing has been removed from his position and would be assigned another job, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. It named Cao’s replacement as Lu Chun, but gave no further details.

via China’s Three Gorges replaces top executives amid graft probe | Reuters.

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25/03/2014

China’s Rush to Build Dams Leaves Resettled Communities in Limbo – Businessweek

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Development, released last January, includes the admirable goal of generating 11.4 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2015. But at least one part of its plan is controversial among environmentalists and civil society advocates: the government’s aim to install 160 GW of new hydropower capacity, raising China’s total hydropower capacity to 290 GW. That would be more installed capacity than in all of Europe combined.

Currently 84 large dams are planned or under construction in southwestern China. The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum has just released an interactive map of the dams, viewable here. At least 70 dam sites are situated in regions that the nonprofit Conservation International has classified as biodiversity hotspots.

One major concern is China’s lousy past record for conducting environmental and social impact assessments for large infrastructure projects, such as the controversial Three Gorges Dam. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that China is learning from its experience.

via China’s Rush to Build Dams Leaves Resettled Communities in Limbo – Businessweek.

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28/02/2014

Chinese criticize state firm behind Three Gorges dam over graft probe | Reuters

A scathing report on corruption at the company that built China’s $59-billion Three Gorges dam, the world’s biggest hydropower scheme, has reignited public anger over a project funded through a special levy paid by all citizens.

Ships sail on the Yangtze River near Badong, 100km (62 miles) from the Three Gorges dam in Hubei province August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The report by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog last week found that some officials at the Three Gorges Corporation, set up in 1993 to run the scheme, were guilty of nepotism, shady property deals and dodgy bidding procedures.

Between 1992 and 2009, all citizens had to pay a levy built into power prices across China to channel money to the dam’s construction, a project overshadowed by compulsory relocations of residents and environmental concerns.

“The relatives and friends of some leaders interfered with construction projects, certain bidding was conducted secretly … and some leaders illicitly occupied multiple apartments,” the graft watchdog said on its website(www.ccdi.gov.cn).

The Three Gorges Corporation published a statement on its website on Tuesday saying it would look into the issues the probe raised, and strictly punish any corrupt conduct and violations of the law and party discipline.

The accusations – made as part of President Xi Jinping‘s crackdown on deep-rooted corruption – have spread rapidly across China’s popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, and some of China’s more outspoken newspapers have weighed in too.

via Chinese criticize state firm behind Three Gorges dam over graft probe | Reuters.

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31/12/2013

BBC News – China country profile – Overview

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13017877

China is the world’s most populous country, with a continuous culture stretching back nearly 4,000 years.

Map of China

Many of the elements that make up the foundation of the modern world originated in China, including paper, gunpowder, credit banking, the compass and paper money. (See also: Genius of China – http://www.curledup.com/geniusch.htm)

After stagnating for more than two decades under the rigid authoritarianism of early communist rule under its late leader, Chairman Mao, China now has the world’s fastest-growing economy and is undergoing what has been described as a second industrial revolution.

It has also launched an ambitious space exploration programme, involving plans to set up a space station by 2020.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the previously dominant nationalist Kuomintang in a civil war. The Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, creating two rival Chinese states – the PRC on the mainland and the Republic of China based on Taiwan.

Beijing says the island of Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory that must be reunited with the mainland. The claim has in the past led to tension and threats of invasion, but since 2008 the two governments have moved towards a more cooperative atmosphere.

The leadership of Mao Tse-Tung oversaw the often brutal implementation of a Communist vision of society. Millions died in the Great Leap Forward – a programme of state control over agriculture and rapid industrialisation – and the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule.

However, Mao’s death in 1976 ushered in a new leadership and economic reform. In the early 1980s the government dismantled collective farming and again allowed private enterprise.

The rate of economic change has not been matched by political reform, with the Communist Party – the world’s largest political party – retaining its monopoly on power and maintaining strict control over the people. The authorities still crack down on any signs of opposition and send outspoken dissidents to labour camps.

Economy

Nowadays China is one of the world’s top exporters and is attracting record amounts of foreign investment. In turn, it is investing billions of dollars abroad.

The collapse in international export markets that accompanied the global financial crisis of 2009 initially hit China hard, but its economy was among the first in the world to rebound, quickly returning to growth.

In February 2011 it formally overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy, though by early 2012 the debt crisis in the eurozone – one of the biggest markets for Chinese goods – was beginning to act as a drag on China’s growth.

As a member of the World Trade Organization, China benefits from access to foreign markets. But relations with trading partners have been strained over China’s huge trade surplus and the piracy of goods.

The former has led to demands for Beijing to raise the value of its currency, the renminbi, which would make Chinese goods more expensive for foreign buyers and possibly hold back exports. Beijing has responded with a gradual easing of restrictions on trading in the renminbi.

Some Chinese fear that the rise of private enterprise and the demise of state-run industries carries heavy social costs such as unemployment and instability.

Moreover, the fast-growing economy has fuelled the demand for energy. China is the largest oil consumer after the US, and the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal. It spends billions of dollars in pursuit of foreign energy supplies. There has been a massive investment in hydro-power, including the $25bn Three Gorges Dam project.

Social discontent

The economic disparity between urban China and the rural hinterlands is among the largest in the world. In recent decades many impoverished rural dwellers have flocked to the country’s eastern cities, which have enjoyed a construction boom. By the beginning of 2012, city dwellers appeared to outnumber the rural population for the first time, according to official figures.

Social discontent manifests itself in protests by farmers and workers. Tens of thousands of people travel to Beijing each year to lodge petitions with the authorities in the hope of finding redress for alleged corruption, land seizures and evictions.

Other pressing problems include corruption, which affects every level of society, and the growing rate of HIV infection. A downside of the economic boom has been environmental degradation; China is home to many of the world’s most-polluted cities.

Human rights

Human rights campaigners continue to criticise China for executing hundreds of people every year and for failing to stop torture. The country is keen to stamp down on what it sees as dissent among its ethnic minorities, including Muslim Uighurs in the north-west. The authorities have targeted the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which they designate an “evil cult”.

Chinese rule over Tibet is controversial. Human rights groups accuse the authorities of the systematic destruction of Tibetan Buddhist culture and the persecution of monks loyal to the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader who is campaigning for autonomy within China.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/31/bbc-news-india-country-profile-overview/

01/11/2013

China’s Gezhouba to build dams in Argentina worth $4.7 billion | Reuters

China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd (600068.SS), known for building the country\’s Three Gorges Dam, said it would build two hydroelectric dams in Argentina worth $4.7 billion.

The project, in which Gezhouba holds a 60 percent interest and Argentina\’s Electroingenieria SA the rest, will involve designing and building the dams in Patagonia and maintaining them for 15 years, Gezhouba said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Friday.

The dams – named after former President Nestor Kirchner and a former regional Governor, Jorge Cepernic – are located along the Santa Cruz River and will have a combined generating capacity of 1,740 megawatts.

They will take 66 months to complete, said Gezhouba, which has handled overseas projects in Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.

The project is unlikely to have any impact on Gezhouba\’s results in 2013, it said.

Argentina\’s Economics Ministry will apply for financing and loans from Chinese banks.

via China’s Gezhouba to build dams in Argentina worth $4.7 billion | Reuters.

20/09/2013

The politics of Chinese dam-building: Opening the floodgates

The Economist: “CHINA has many good reasons not to build the $5.2 billion Xiaonanhai dam on the Yangzi river in Chongqing. The site, on a gentle slope that moves water along only slowly, is not ideal for generating hydropower. The fertile soil makes it one of China’s most productive regions, so it is densely populated with farmers reaping good harvests. And the dam (see map), which would produce only 10% of the electricity of the Three Gorges project downstream, could destroy a rare fish preserve, threatening several endangered species including the Yangzi sturgeon.

Yet it does not matter how strong the case may be against Xiaonanhai, because the battle against a hydropower scheme in China is usually lost before it is fought. The political economy of dam-building is rigged. Though the Chinese authorities have made much progress in evaluating the social and environmental impact of dams, the emphasis is still on building them, even when mitigating the damage would be hard. Critics have called it the “hydro-industrial complex”: China has armies of water engineers (including Hu Jintao, the former president) and at least 300 gigawatts of untapped hydroelectric potential. China’s total generating capacity in 2012 was 1,145GW, of which 758GW came from coal-burning plants.

An important motive for China to pursue hydropower is, ironically, the environment. China desperately needs to expand its energy supply while reducing its dependence on carbon-based fuels, especially coal. The government wants 15% of power consumption to come from clean or renewable sources by 2020, up from 9% now. Hydropower is essential for achieving that goal, as is nuclear power. “Hydro, including large hydro in China, is seen as green,” says Darrin Magee, an expert on Chinese dams at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state.

There is also a political reason why large hydro schemes continue to go ahead. Dambuilders and local governments have almost unlimited power to plan and approve projects, whereas environmental officials have almost no power to stop them.”

via The politics of dam-building: Opening the floodgates | The Economist.

See also:

18/05/2013

* China gives environmental approval to country’s biggest hydro dam

Reuters: “China’s environment ministry has given the go-ahead for the construction of what will become the country’s tallest hydroelectric dam despite acknowledging it will have an impact on plants and rare fish.

Dadu River, China

The dam, with a height of 314 meters (1,030 feet), will serve the Shuangjiangkou hydropower project on the Dadu River in southwestern Sichuan province.

To be built over 10 years by a subsidiary of state power firm Guodian Group, it is expected to cost 24.68 billion yuan ($4.02 billion) in investment.

The ministry, in a statement issued late on Tuesday, said an environmental impact assessment had acknowledged that the project would have a negative impact on rare fish and flora and affect protected local nature reserves.

Developers, it said, had pledged to take “counter-measures” to mitigate the effects. The project still requires the formal go-ahead from the State Council, China’s cabinet.

China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2020, up from 9.4 percent in 2011. Hydropower is expected to make the biggest contribution.

It has vowed to speed up construction of dams in the 2011-2015 period after slowing it down following the completion of the controversial Three Gorges project in 2006.

The Three Gorges Dam, which serves the world’s biggest hydropower station on the Yangtze river, measures 185 meters.

The 300-m Nurek dam in Tajikistan in Central Asia is the world’s highest, though other taller dams are now under construction. China’s tallest dam now, at 292 meters, is the Xiaowan Dam on the Lancang River, also known as the Mekong.

On completion, the Sichuan project will have a total installed capacity of 20 gigawatts (GW), with annual power generation to exceed 7 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The government said this year that hydropower capacity was expected to reach 290 GW by 2015, up from 220 GW at the end of 2010. It also said it would begin building a controversial project on the undeveloped Nu River in Yunnan province.

Guodian was one of a number of state-owned firms criticized by China’s national audit office last week for starting work on projects not yet been approved by the central government. The office said by the end of 2011, the company had invested nearly 30 billion yuan in 21 unapproved projects.

The Huaneng Group, China’s biggest power company, was also criticized for launching construction of the Huangdeng hydropower plant before receiving the government’s go-ahead.”

via China gives environmental approval to country’s biggest hydro dam | Reuters.

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