China has approved construction of a 239-meter hydroelectric structure on the Yangtze river, the state planning agency said yesterday.
Planned total investment of 30.97 billion yuan (HK$35.85 billion) will include 2.19 billion yuan to cover the costs of relocating and compensating people displaced by construction.
Hydropower is a clean and renewable source of energy but large-scale construction in southwest China has sparked accusations of damage to fragile ecosystems and inadequate compensation to thousands who have lost their homes.
As concern grows over the social and environmental costs of large hydroelectric dams, China has become more cautious of approving new projects in recent years.
“Great importance must be attached to environmental protection and migrant resettlement work during the construction,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a notice.
The project is envisaged to eventually consist of four turbines with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts (2 gigawatts.)
That compares with China’s total hydropower capacity of 350 gigawatts by the end of last year, with about 270 GW contributed by large-scale projects, an industry group said last week.