Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"China Eyes Hydropower Projects Around The World"

China is 'helping' Pakistan build a dam that has India more than a bit concerned, more on that later in the week.
From OilPrice, July 25:
In the world of hydropower two factors matter when considering the construction of a dam for electricity production: the movement of large quantities of water and rapid changes in altitude. In this context, China is a blessed country where the Himalayas, the roof of the world, provide the necessary resources. This month one of the country's last mega-dams was completed. While there are multiple projects in different stages of development, Chinese attention in the future will most likely reorient towards investments abroad and alternative technologies domestically.

The Dragon awakens China’s rulers have, for thousands of years, been aware of the country’s hydropower potential. Never before has a similar building spree been executed. With the completion of the massive 10.2 GW Wudongde hydropower facility in the mountains of Yunnan province, the country is running out of promising sites. 

In two years the Baihetan project, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) downstream, will also start producing electricity. These two dams combined will produce more power than the entire hydropower sector of the Philippines.
China's 'hydro' ambitions are both a method for producing electricity and also a preventative measure against floods which will improve the navigability of rivers. The dam-building program took off in the nineties with the Three Gorges Dam. Work started in 1994 and was finished in 2012 after which the plant started producing 22.5 GW of electricity. The size of the dam dwarfs similar objects considering the world's no.2, the Itaipu dam in Brazil/Paraguay is a whopping 8 GW smaller. 

China’s dams are an essential part of the country’s power mix. While wind and solar have garnered much attention both domestically and abroad due to large investments in the renewables sector, hydropower is still the largest source of clean electricity. Currently, China’s dams produce 356.2 GW of electricity which is approximately 20 percent of the power mix.
China’s hydropower capacity is larger than the total production capacity of all countries except for the United States and India. 
Changing gear
When the Baihetan dam is completed and starts producing power in 2022, all projects with production capacity above 10 GW will be completed. Also, five of the world's 10 largest dams will be located on the Jinsha or Yangtze rivers. Theoretically, there is room for a massive 38 GW dam in the Tibetan plateau, but the remote location and geopolitical sensitivities make it unlikely. ...

Very related:
"The Mekong River, Water Wars, and Information Wars"