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Three Gorges Dam project complete but still under fire

The last of 32 generators in the world's largest hydropower project was started on July 4, and China's controversial Three Gorges Dam was declared complete.


The last of 32 generators in the world’s largest hydropower project was started on July 4, and China’s controversial Three Gorges Dam was declared complete.

The 600-kilometre long reservoir on the Yangtze River is generating 22.5 gigawatts and provides 11 per cent of China’s hydroelectric capacity.

Meanwhile other dams along the Yangtse are also being developed which could impact the dam’s capacity.

Probe International of Toronto has long been a critic of the Three Gorges Dam project, which required millions of people to be displaced.  Also, many ancient cultural artifacts had to be buried .  In its early planning stages Canadian consulting engineering firms were involved in the project and came under fire.

Patricia Adams, executive director of Pollution Probe, painted a scathing picture of the dam’s legacy so far in an article that appeared in the Huffington Post on July 12.   She says the price per kilowatt of power produced by the dam is four times higher than the national standard set by China’s state electricity regulator. She also says people continue to be evacuated along the banks of the river because the rising and falling reservoir level is triggering landslides. Also studies by seismologists at the China Earthquake Administrate, she says, indicate that seismic activity has increased 30-fold in the region due to the reservoir.

The cost of the Three Gorges Dam project is estimated at US $60 billion. It was originally estimated at $9 billion in 1992.