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China to build a major dam on Brahmaputra river in Tibet

Tibet has about 200 million kWh of water resources, accounting for 30 per cent of the total in China. The 60 million kWh hydropower exploitation of the Yarlung Zangbo river could provide 300 billion kWh of clean and renewable electricity annually

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | November 30, 2020 | Updated 08:50 IST
China to build a major dam on Brahmaputra river in Tibet
The Power Construction Corp of China, or POWERCHINA, a company involved in the making of the dam, said the project could serve to maintain water resources and China's national security

China will be building a hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river (Yarlung Zangbo river) in Tibet, and a company has put forward this proposal for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

The Power Construction Corp of China, or POWERCHINA, a company involved in the making of the dam, said the project could serve to maintain water resources and China's national security, Chinese official media Global Times reported.

"There is no parallel in history...it will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry," Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China said at the 40th anniversary of the founding of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.

The Brahmaputra river (Yarlung Zangbo river) has the richest water resources in Tibet, about 80 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). Whereas the 50-kilometre section of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon has 70 million kWh that could be developed with a 2,000-meter drop, which equals more than three gorges power stations in Hubei province.

Tibet has about 200 million kWh of water resources, accounting for 30 per cent of the total in China. The 60 million kWh hydropower exploitation of the Yarlung Zangbo River (an upper stream of the Brahmaputra River) could provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually.

The project will play a significant role in realising China's goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060, Zhiyong said. The hydropower station could generate income of 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) annually for the Tibet Autonomous Region, he added.

India and China established the Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) in 2006 to discuss various issues related to trans-border rivers. Under existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides hydrological information, or the flood data of Brahmaputra River and Sutlej River to India between May 15 and October 15 every year.

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