Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is built on the Yangtze River in Central China. The dam is the largest HEP in the world and is massive in scale. The dam 2,335m wide, 101 metres high and 115m thick. It has 34 generator with an electricity capacity of 22,500MW. The reservoir behind the dam is 660km long and has a surface area of 1,045km2. Although the dam is effectively a wall across the river, the navigation has been improved by building a series of 5 locks alongside the dam.
The site of the Three Gorges Dam was chosen over 15 other sites based on the following advantages:
• The valley floor was wide and low making building easy
• The Yangtze has huge HEP potential
• The bedrock is firm with limited crack making a firm foundation
• Although in a seismically active (earthquake region) there have been few earthquakes near the site of the dam
• There was a small island making construction of a diversion channel easy during construction
• Workers could easily be moved to the site
• The relocation of people was not really an issue in Communist China.
The project began in 1994 by the Chinese government. It was designed to prevent flooding downstream and power up to 15% of China’s energy requirements. This figure has lowered since 1994 due to China’s development. It was also meant to bolster China’s reputation as a green, eco-friendly country. The Three Gorges Dam has many advantages to the local people, such as these:
• The Three Gorges Dam has become a tourist attraction with people visiting the dam
• The dam produces clean renewable energy. It was initially thought that it would meet 15% of China's energy needs, but this figure has fallen as China has developed.
• Improved navigation and trade as far as Chongqing - Chongqing is now one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
• The amount of flooding has reduced downstream of the dam.
• Water is stored behind the dam that can be used for drinking, farming, etc.
• The dam created a lot of jobs...