Chinese hydropower “disorderly”

The rapid development of hydropower in China has been plagued by poor planning and environmentally damaging processes, reported the magazine Caijing, citing a senior government official. The official was also quoted as saying that the government needs to work efficiently to deal with the excessive and disorderly development of hydropower, such as along the ecologically vulnerable upper Yangtze River.

Shao Bingren, a senior official at the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made his comments in reference to a CPPCC study which concluded that the 3,000 hydropower plants operating or planned along the Yangtze’s upper reaches suffer from weak management or supervision. Many electricity projects conducted by local governments in China’s south-west have lacked a scientific approach to planning, Shao said.


The report indicated that, in Sichuan province, 26 hydropower plants had been built along the 503-kilometer Tuo River — nearly one every 20 kilometers. Another eight hydropower plants have been built along the 120-kilometer upper Min River, said Shao. In addition to destroying local environments, some of these hydropower plants were built in earthquake zones, posing huge risks to workers.


In order to solve these issues, government administration should be strengthened by tightening industry supervision and providing more guidance, Shao said.  The current economic slowdown should be seen as an opportunity for the government to improve administration, reform the pricing system and boost social services, he added.


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