China Energy Industry

China Three Gorges Hydropower Project Proceeds as Planned After Protests

(April 1, 2011)  It is business as usual for the China Three Gorges Corporation, operator of the world’s largest dam and builder of the Xiangjiaba hydropower project in southwestern China, after 2,000 protesters were dispersed by 1,500 riot police.

Graphic Credit: China Three Gorges Corporation

The following article was originally published in Bloomberg

China Three Gorges Corp., operator of the world’s largest dam, said its Xiangjiaba hydropower project in southwestern China will continue as planned after local residents ended a five-day protest this week.

“The Xiangjiaba project is progressing as planned,” Yan Fei, a spokeswoman for China Three Gorges, said in a text message sent by mobile phone today. “There has been no notice of changes to the plans.” The hydropower facility will have total capacity of 6.4 gigawatts and is expected to start electricity generation in June 2012, according to China Three Gorges’ website.

More than 2,000 residents of Suijiang county in China’s Yunnan province protested for five days, blocking local roads, over compensation offered them for relocating because of the dam, the China Daily newspaper reported today. China has moved more than a million people to make way for hydropower projects as the government seeks to ensure the energy supplies needed to fuel the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Construction of the Xiangjiaba hydropower project will require the relocation of 20,000 people living in Suijiang county by June 2012, when the reservoir created by the dam puts 50,000 mu (8,237 acre) of land under water, according to the China Three Gorges’ website.

Protesters Disperse

Protesters in Suijiang gathered on March 25 and dispersed by March 29, China Daily said, citing the county government. Police weren’t used to disperse the protestors, the newspaper reported. Five calls to the county government’s news department weren’t answered today.

Suijiang county is home to 160,000 people, according to the local government’s website. The Xiangjiaba project is located north of the county at the border between Yunnan and Sichuan province, on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, according to China Three Gorges’s website.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, also gave approval today for the Nuozhadu hydropower project in Yunnan province, according to a statement on its website. The facility, with a capacity of 5.85 gigawatts, is on the Lancang river, which becomes the Mekong river in Southeast Asia.

Chua Baizhen,  Editor: John Liu, Bloomberg News, April 1, 2011

Read Probe International’s story on the conflict at Xiangjiaba here

To see the location of the Xiangjiaba Dam, click here

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