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Three Gorges Dam. The Worlds Largest Hydro-Electric Plant. What is it?. A 2,300m energy powerhouse that spans the Yangtze River in central China. The 6,300km long river divides North and South China, culturally and economically important, it is the 3 rd longest river in the world.

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three gorges dam

Three Gorges Dam

The Worlds Largest Hydro-Electric Plant

what is it
What is it?
  • A 2,300m energy powerhouse that spans the Yangtze River in central China.
  • The 6,300km long river divides North and South China, culturally and economically important, it is the 3rd longest river in the world.
  • Built in multiple stages, the dam contains enough steel to construct 63 Eiffel Towers, and is the 3rd dam built on the Yangtze.
  • Some of the dam’s features will include 34 6,000 tonne generators, ship locks, a ship lift, and state of the art flood controls for the millions that live downstream of the dam.
  • Construction began in December 1994 and will be completed in 2011.
benefits
Benefits
  • Will produce 22,500 MW (MegaWatts) of electricity when fully operational.
  • By completion, the dam will have generated 348.4 TWh (TeraWatt-Hours) of energy, already covering more than a third of the project cost.
  • Reduces air pollutant and greenhouse gas emission because it is hydroelectric, potentially dropping coal usage by 31 million tonnes a year, and 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provides controlled flooding and drought relief to the farmland, cities, and industrial areas adjacent to the Yangtze downstream.
  • Along with the dam, 50 new waste-water treatment plants have been installed, dumping 65% of treated water into the reservoir.
  • Irrigation and agriculture benefits from drought relief during dry seasons were predicted to create about 6,000 square kilometers of forest in 2008.
criticism
Criticism
  • Flooding of the reservoir has displaced 1.3 million people, and flooded archaeological and cultural sites.
  • Construction has cost approximately 26 billion USD.
  • The dam has functioned in the critical endangerment or extinction of the Siberian Crane and the Baiji (the Yangtze River dolphin).
  • The dam reduces the river’s flushing capacity, leading to increased pollution.
  • Erosion of the Three Gorges Area is causing excessive silt deposition in the dam reservoir, creating efficiency problems and preventing the stabilizing of China’s coastal areas from sedimentation and deposition at the river mouth.
  • The dam lies across a seismic fault, earthquakes have caused hairline cracks to form at the base of the dam.
  • Frequent landslides occur due to the raised water level, eroding the reservoir and leading to noticeable disturbance.