The first two generating units of the world’s second-biggest hydroelectric dam were officially turned on Monday in southwestern China. The 948 feet high Baihetan Hydropower Station in southwest China, second in the world only to the country’s Three Gorges Dam in terms of power generation, began partial operation Monday morning, state media reported.
Baihetan was built with a total installed capacity of 16,000 megawatts, which means it will be able to generate enough electricity each day once to meet the power needs of 500,000 people for an entire year.The country has been on a Hydropower building spree in recent years as it races to meet the ever-growing energy needs of the world’s largest population. The dam spans a deep, narrow gorge on the upper section of the Yangtze, China’s longest river, on the earthquake-prone border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.
The massive engineering projects have also displaced hundreds of thousands of local communities and prompted concern in neighbouring countries. China’s planned mega-dam in Tibet’s Medog County, which is set to surpass the Three Gorges Dam in size, has been described by analysts as a threat to Tibetan cultural heritage and a way for Beijing to effectively control a substantial portion of India’s water supply.The impact of dams on China’s portion of the Mekong has also raised fears that irreversible damage is being inflicted upon a waterway that feeds 60 million people downstream as it winds through to the Vietnamese