fredag 28. mai 2021

A mega dam on the Great Bend of China

Hydroelectricity is China’s second-biggest source of energy, after coal. It makes up almost a fifth of the total energy production — and its dam building shows no signs of easing. As China seeks to meet its targets of becoming carbon neutral by 2060, it is turning its sights to some of the wildest reaches of the Tibetan Plateau, where it plans to build a hydropower plant so ambitious that it could produce three times as much power as Three Gorges.

Late last year, as the world grappled with the COVID pandemic, the Chinese Government announced it would seek to exploit the hydropower potential of the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo — a transboundary river that flows from Tibet into India, where it becomes the Brahmaputra, and then into Bangladesh as the Jamuna. The announcement was made as part of the government’s 14th five-year plan, a series of guidelines spelling out China’s economic and social priorities.

Experts believe it could be the riskiest mega structure ever built. Not only is the location prone to massive landslides and some of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, it’s also precariously close to the disputed border between India and China. Meaning any major project could further escalate discontent in a tense territorial dispute between the world’s two most populous countries.