Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build mega dams on its Grand Canyon of the East. Although dam-building isn’t off the table in other parts of China, activists say Beijing is deterred in this case by growing concern for the environment, the wisdom of dam construction in areas of high seismicity and – most importantly – the economics of large-scale dams that no longer make financial sense in a slowing Chinese economy, in combination with the scale of difficulty in transmitting electricity from remote regions to the rest of the country.
Environmentalists in China are celebrating after controversial plans to build a series of giant hydroelectric dams on the country’s last free-flowing river were shelved.
Activists have spent more than a decade campaigning to protect the Nujiang, or “angry river”, from a cascade of dams, fearing they would displace tens of thousands of people and irreparably damage one of China’s most spectacular and bio-diverse regions.
Since the start of this year, hopes had been building that Beijing would finally abandon plans to dam the 1,750-mile waterway, which snakes down from the Tibetan plateau through some of China’s most breathtaking scenery before entering Myanmar, Thailand and eventually flowing into the Andaman Sea.
On Friday, campaigners said that appears to have happened after China’s State Energy Administration published a policy roadmap for the next five years that contained no mention of building any hydroelectric dams on the Nu.