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China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 6)

Another source of resistance of the hydropower developmen comes from population displacement. In the past, half of hydropower development costs were incurred due to the displacement of residents, and many displaced migrants return after development begins. Construction costs for a hydropower plant is 40 percent higher than a fossil fuel power plant, resulting the concerns on the worth of hydropower. The most remarkable exmaple is Three Gorges hydro project too.

But for Chinese local governments, hydroelectric development is a way to displace impoverished populations and reduce a county's financial burden.

China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 5)

Environmental protection organizations and problems involving population displacement are the main two obstacles to the development of hydropower (Hydroelectric power generation). For example, one hydroelectric power generation station in Nujiang has been a center of controversy since 2003, and had to stop operations.

Approval for large hydropower projects had to come from State Council departments which are responsible for investment, not just Chinese local governments from 2007 on.

China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 4)

An official of Yunnan Provincem, China said that currently organizations and experts formerly involved in hydropower projects have met in Yunnan Province to discuss the current hydropower situation. They hope that the Chinese government will officially announce the resumption of hydropower projects. It's said that the Chinese central government is also trying to overcome prior obstructions.

Zhang Boting, deputy secretary-general of Chinese Society of Hydroelectric Engineering, says that in the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), the starting capacity for hydroelectric output was cited as 70 million kilowatts, but in reality, the number is around 20 million kw, just 20% to 30% of the estimated figure.

China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 3)

It's also said that hydropower (hydroelectric power generation) presents an ideal project for western China and other undeveloped areas in China, and a fitting goal for regional development. Combined with preferential policies for the western areas included in the 12th Five-year Plan (2011 - 2015), the western China is expected to experience an economic boom.

Tibet's Zangmu Dam, which was built for hydroelectric power production, was completed on November 12, 2010. Chinese experts anticipate Qinghai and Tibet provinces to be primary sites of hydroelectric development in the future. A Qinghai Province official has confirmed that the Chinese central government has promised opportunities for local hydroelectric development.

China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 2)

Due to the unique geographic location and rich natural resources, Nujiang is a perfect place and has been keen to develop hydropower for nearly ten years. At present, small or medium-sized hydropower projects line the rivers in the Nujiang Lìsu Autonomous Prefecture. As we know from the statistics, there are more than 80 new hydropower (hydroelectric power generation) projects currently under construction and 44 completed hydroelectric power generation projects.

The total investment amounts in this area to about RMB 3.46 billion yuan (about US$52 million). The development of Nujiang is back on track after years of controversy.

China's Hydropower Push in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) (part 1)

Three Gorges hydro project

But the investment of hydropower projects are mostly ceased for several reasons, such as the unsettled debate on the position of water power. The aftereffect of no progress in hydropower (hydroelectric power) in China results in the partial reasons for the shortage of electricty and severe drought these years.

But Chinese hydroelectric power generation has reached a turning point now. In Beijing, China Electricity Council issued the electric power industry research report for the 12th Five-year Plan. Wei Zhaofeng, vice chairman of China Electricity Council, said that the development of hydroelectric power (hydropower) has become a priority, and that large and medium-sized hydropower projects will be granted approval.

These developments will be helpful to raise the share of non-fossil energy (alternative power) in Chinese large energy consumption.


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