The Three Gorges dam is located in Hubei province, China. Built on Yangtze river (China’s longest river), it was completed in 2006. As on date, it is the world’s largest hydroelectric project. There are plans to add more generators.
Three Gorges dam cost a whopping $30 billion. The project was funded mainly by profits from Gezhouba dam, China Development bank and Three Gorges Dam Construction Fund. The cost would be recovered over time by selling power to various provinces.
The hydroelectric power station has a capacity to generate 22,500 MW. It has 34 generators each weighing 6000 tons and with capacity of 700 MW.
This dam is helping reduce the destructive impact of heavy floods which hits this area every year by providing storage space. On 20th July 2010, The Three Gorges dam efficiently handled fastest flow of water ever recorded at 70,000 cubic meters per second. This dam has capacity to withstand up to 110,000 cubic meters of water per second.
The Three Gorges has had negative impact on the environment. Wetlands where the Siberian Cranes wintered have been destroyed by this dam. Environmentalists are of the opinion that this dam has contributed to the extinction of Baiji, the Yangtze river dolphin. Three Gorges is located on a Seismic fault. The immense weight of the reservoir water might cause major earthquakes. Some effects are already visible in the form of landslides. Another controversy related to Three Gorges dam is that nearly 1.4 million people had to be relocated to facilitate its construction.
The Three Gorges dam is definitely another feather in the cap of modern China.