In order to accelerate its ecological transition, China has just acquired the second largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Ultimately, it will be able to produce 16 GW, or the annual electricity needs of 500,000 people. The world's first power station is also located in China. Located on the Yangtze Jiang River in Hubei province in central China, it is capable of producing 22.5 GW.
From 2022, the Baihetan power station will be in full swing and will be added to that of the Three Georges. Together, they should greatly help China meet its climate goals. As President Xi Jinping put it, the plant should help: "to achieve the Chinese objectives of peak carbon emissions (by 2030) and carbon neutrality by 2060" and to operate "the ecological transition"
Obviously, the construction of such a building is not without posing serious environmental and human problems, in addition to technical challenges. Located in a seismic zone straddling the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan (southwest) on the river and 289 meters high, the Baihetan power plant has forced hundreds of thousands of residents to leave their homes. In addition, the activity of a power station heats the water it uses. The impact on marine biodiversity is obvious and the entire surrounding ecosystem is upset.
But the Chinese government is determined to continue on this path. It must quickly find ways to free itself from fossil fuels and coal in particular.
China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG), the company that built and operates the plant, said it has paid out 70 billion yuan (9.1 billion euros) in financial compensation and built new homes.
The filling of the dam lake having necessitated the flooding of arable land, the company also says it has financed vocational training to help the inhabitants who had to leave, to find a job.