Source of the major rivers of Asia, China plans to build a string of new dams throughout Tibet. Driven by ever-rising energy needs, the dam projects would mainly stretch across the lower reaches of the rivers, where population densities are low. Hundreds of millions of people downstream rely on rivers sourced in Tibet and environmental controversy has mired past dam projects.
Still, Beijing insists that hydroelectric power is the cleanest and safest alternative to coal, oil, gas, or nuclear facilities. “We are trying to solve the electricity shortage and do the least damage to our environment,” Zhuang Hongxiang, an official at Tibet’s environment bureau, told London’s Guardian.
Though no specific projects have been proposed, reports suggest that hydroelectric power could generate some 1,800 billion kilowatt hours a year for the region.
“Tibet is rich in water resources and has good potential for setting up more hydropower stations and dams,” Baima Wangdui, director of the region’s water resources department, told the Guardian. “With the economic development of Tibet we need more resources. We will take great care in protecting Tibet’s natural life and consider the [impact] on society.”
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Source : Guardian
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org