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Baihetan Dam- World’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam

Baihetan Dam- World’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam

Why in news?

  • Recently, China has put into operation the Baihetan Dam, world’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam.
  • The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydropower dam in the world and is also along China’s Yangtze River. It began operations in 2003.

About the dam

  • The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydropower dam in the world and is also along China’s Yangtze River.
  • It began operations in 2003.
  • It is on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze (the longest river in Asia).
  • It has been built with a total installed capacity of 16,000 megawatts.
  • It is one of the first projects to use a 1,000MW hydro-turbine generator and is situated on the border of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
  • It will eventually be able to generate enough electricity each day once to meet the power needs of 5,00,000 people for an entire year.
  • This comes at a time when dams have fallen out of favor in other countries due to environmental complaints (such as flooding farmland and disruption of the ecology of rivers, threatening fish and other species).
  • The cost of the dam is 220 billion yuan or $34.07 billion.

Significance for China

  • It is part of Chinese efforts to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity.
  • This comes at a time when dams have fallen out of favor in other countries due to environmental complaints (such as flooding farmland and disruption of the ecology of rivers, threatening fish and other species).                                  Baihetan Dam- World’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam
  • China’s pledge in 2020 to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 had also added urgency to the construction.

Baihetan Dam development details

  • The National Development and Reform Commission of China approved the feasibility study of the project in 2010.
  • In August 2017, the construction work started.                                  Baihetan Dam- World’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam
  • The first turbine unit was installed in January 2019.
  • 4-The first two generating units were operationalized in June 2021.
  • The dam is expected to be fully operational by 2022.

Ecological Impact

  • The ecosystem in the Himalayan region is already on the decline.
  • Several species of flora and fauna are endemic to this part of the world and some of them are critically endangered.
  • It could have disastrous consequences in this ecologically sensitive zone.
  • The massive engineering projects have also displaced hundreds of thousands of local communities and prompted concern in neighbouring countries.

China’s Upcoming projects

  • China has proposed a mega-dam in Tibet’s Medog County on the lower reaches of the Brahmaputra river, which will surpass the Three Gorges Dam in size.
  • The analysts have raised concerns against its construction as it poses a threat to the Tibetan cultural heritage.
  • The analysts also believe that the dam once built will allow China to effectively control a substantial portion of India’s water supply.

Yangtze River

  • It is the longest river in Asia and third-longest in world.
  • This river is also the longest worldwide to flow entirely within one country.
  • It originates from Jari Hill in Tanggula Mountains in Tibetan Plateau and flows for 6,300 km in east direction to drain into East China Sea.
  • It is considered as sixth-largest river by discharge volume in world. The river drains one-fifth of China’s land area.

Jinsha River

  • It is the Chinese name for upper stretches of Yangtze River.
  • River flows across  Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces in western China.
  • It passes through Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is significant in generating hydroelectric power.
  • Several world’s largest hydroelectric power stations have been constructed on Jinsha river.                    Baihetan Dam- World’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam

 

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/operation-pangea-xiv-interpol/

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