Tuesday, December 8, 2020

"China’s plans for gigantic Brahmaputra dam strains relations with India further"

China just keeps pushing and pushing in all directions and I'm not sure why the Chinese Communist Party decided now is the time.

From TheThirdPole, December 4:

Powerchina’s announcement it will build a mega dam could spur a dam-building race with India, with disastrous consequences for the ecology of the region

The president of Power Construction Corporation of China (Powerchina) made a big splash across the Himalayas last week by announcing its plans to develop large scale hydropower on the Lower Yarlung Tsangpo river, known as the Brahmaputra in India.

This has long been a bone of contention between the two countries, with India fearing that large scale damming of the river upstream by China will effectively cut off its water supply downstream. The Brahmaputra river runs across the Tibetan Plateau before passing through India and Bangladesh. While these fears are based on a misconception of how much water is contributed to the river in Chinese territory, the ecological impacts of large dam building in the region will be immense.

When plans first appeared in the Chinese Communist Party’s proposal for the 14th Five Year Plan and the long-term vision for 2035 in early November there was no reaction in either India or China. The proposal simply said: “implementation of hydropower development plans on Yarlung Tsangpo,” without giving any further details. There was no coverage in the Chinese media.

In his conference speech, company president Yan Zhiyong said Powerchina will be the project contractor and ensure its execution. The project, he said, could play a significant role in helping China reach its goal to achieve peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 and would bring money and development to the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

World’s largest dam

The development of nearly 60 million kilowatts [60 GW] of hydropower in the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo can provide nearly 300 billion kWh per year, offering a glimpse into the huge scale of the project proposed in the Grand Canyon of the Yarlung Tsangpo, where the river takes a sharp bend and drops over 2,000 metres, making it an ideal place to generate hydropower. The area has 70 GW of technically exploitable hydro resources, more than triple the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam....


It is a big deal.