Tag Archives: dams

DR Congo Waits On Funding For World’s Largest Hydropower Project

24 May

The existing Inga I dam on the Congo River. Photograph: Reuters

Cross Posted from The Guardian

The world’s largest set of dams has moved closer to construction, with the World Bank and other financial institutions expected to offer finance and South Africa agreeing to buy half of the power generated.

In the past 60 years French, Belgian, Chinese, Brazilian and African engineers have all hoped to dam the river.

But decades of civil war, corruption, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) reputation as a failed state have limited the hydropower developments at the country’s Inga Falls to two relatively small dams, built in 1972 and 1982. These, known as Inga 1 and 2, have a theoretical capacity of 1,400 megawatts but produce about half that.

A new $20bn (£13.2bn) development to generate a further 4,800MW was announced over the weekend in Paris, with work planned to start in October 2015. According to the DRC government, working with European and other consultants, five further stages at Inga Falls could eventually have a capacity of 40,000MW – equivalent to more than 20 large nuclear power stations.

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World’s Tallest Dam Approved By Chinese Environmental Officials

24 May

The upper Dadu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River. Photo by: rduta/Creative Commons 2.0

Cross Posted from The Guardian

Chinese environmental authorities have approved construction plans for what could become the world’s tallest dam, while acknowledging that the project would affect endangered plants and rare fish species.

The 314 metre-high dam (1,030ft) will serve the Shuangjiangkou hydropower project along the Dadu river in south-western Sichuan province, according to China‘s state news agency, Xinhua. A subsidiary of Guodian Group, one of China’s five major state-owned power companies, will complete the project over a decade at an estimated cost of £2.9bn.

The dam will be far taller than the 185 metre-high Three Gorges dam along the Yangtze river – the world’s most powerful hydroelectric project – and slightly edge out the current record holder, the 300 metre-high Nurek dam in Tajikistan. The world’s second-tallest dam, the 292 metre-high Xiaowan dam on the Lancang (Mekong) river, is also in China.

China’s environment ministry acknowledged that the dam would have an impact on the area’s highly biodiverse flora and fauna.

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Muskrat Falls Inuit Arrested Battling Churchill River Hydroelectric Project in Labrador

13 Apr

Cross Posted From Indian Counrty Today Media Network

A 74-year old Inuit elder has ended a hunger strike and been released from jail after being arrested along with seven others protesting the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River in Labrador.

But another of the arrestees says the protesters, who have been fighting for decades to gain full national recognition as Inuit descendants in Canada’s easternmost province, are undaunted.

“We’ve been pushed around for generations,” said Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council (formerly the Labrador Métis Association), who was taken into custody along with Elder James Learning for blocking roads to protest the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. “We will defend ourselves in the court system, but we will continue to assert our aboriginal rights to our traditional territory, and we will continue to mount protest after protest if that’s what it takes to have our views known and our rights respected.”

At issue is the Muskrat Falls power project, a $7.7-billion plan to build a hydroelectric power station and a new dam on the Churchill River. The project would also see massive transmission lines installed to supply power to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

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Decade Long Fight Against Dam Victorious!

23 Aug

With the signing of the Cacahuatepec Agreement, the Papagayo River will remain wild and undammed.

From Root Force

La Parota Dam has been definitively canceled.

The government of Guerrero has formally abandoned all plans for the dam and will inform the Mexican federal government that it will not approve its construction.

After nearly 10 years of struggle, campesinos fighting to defend their way of life from La Parota Dam won a definitive victory with the Aug. 16 signing of the “Cacahuatepec Agreement,” signed between Guerrero Governor Ángel Aguirre and the Council of Ejidos and Communities in Opposition to La Parota Dam (CECOP), the primary organization opposing the dam. Continue reading

Aung San Suu Kyi backs Burma dam protesters

11 Aug

Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River

Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has joined forces with environmentalists and minority groups with an appeal for a rethink of a large dam project.

Suu Kyi urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River in the interest of national and international harmony.

The Nobel peace prize winner called the waterway “the most significant geographical feature of our country.”

Environmental groups, members of the Kachin ethnic minority and other people living along the river say the Myanmar-China Myitsone Hydroelectric Project in northern Kachin state will displace villagers and upset the ecology of the important food source.

The 3.6 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) dam being built by China in the Kachin heartland is expected to flood an area the size of Singapore.

The Burmese government has not said how much of the energy will be sold to China.

In her appeal, Suu Kyi said some 12,000 people from 63 villages have been relocated and it is not clear whether they will be fairly compensated.

The government said only 2,146 people from five villages had been relocated.

For decades, several ethnic groups have waged guerrilla wars for greater autonomy, including more control over resources in their regions. In March, fighting broke out between the 8,000-strong Kachin militia and the government.

That fighting was related to dams and other large projects being built by China.

Cross-posted from here

Global Protests Against Burmese Military Actions At Dams

1 Jul

By Katy Yan and Grace Mang

Cross-posted from here

Kachins protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco

Last Friday, hundreds of people in the US, Denmark, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and elsewhere gathered to protest the recent deadly clashes between Burmese authorities and ethnic militias in Burma’s northern Kachin State. Standing before Burmese and Chinese embassies, Kachins held up signs calling for an end to the violence and a halt to dam building by Chinese companies  in Kachin State.

Fighting broke out in early June between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) at the Dapein No. 1 and 2 dams, which are being constructed by China’s state-owned Datang Company, breaking a 17-year ceasefire. Scores of people have died and as many as 13,000 refugees have fled their homes, with many crossing into China. As of last Wednesday, about 18 women have been reported gang-raped by Burma Army soldiers in Kachin State, according to the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand.

 

Fishing on the Irrawaddy near the Myitsone Dam (Burma Rivers Network)

Chinese power companies and contractors are building a series of dams in northern Burma to supply electricity to China. The biggest and most controversial of these dams is the Myitsone Dam, a massive 3,600MW hydropower plant being built by China Power Investment and situated in an area of great cultural and ecological significance. The environmental impact assessment on this first dam on the Irrawaddy also expressed grave concerns.

In March, the KIO sent an open letter to the Chinese government calling for a halt to the project. It warned that, given the forced displacement, lack of transparency, and unequal distribution of benefits, this and other dam projects in Burma were likely to foster popular resentment, creating a risky situation for Chinese companies so close to its borders.

Chinese dams fueling conflicts in Kachin State (Kachins in California)

According to the Burma Rivers Network, the current conflict is “closely related to the dams. The government has sent in troops because it wants to gain control of a region that hosts major Chinese investments in hydropower.” Kachin State has till now been largely controlled by Kachin forces. 

Strong local resistance has also occurred in northern Shan State in an area where Burma, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and a number of Chinese companies (China’s Sinohydro, China Three Gorges Group Corporation, and China Southern Power Grid) are planning a series of dams for the Salween River.

China now finds itself caught in the middle due to its desire for secure energy supplies from Burma and its fear of escalating conflict around its hydropower projects so close to its borders.