As the New World Order (NWO) transfers economic power from West to East, another sort of power underpins that inexorable process – electricity. That’s the energy source supporting the relentless advance of the NWO’s leading player, China. Despite the damaging global-warming effect of coal-fired power stations, insatiable appetite for energy means this method remains the principal source of China’s electricity supply. However, any possibility of generating ‘green’ electricity is welcome, especially if it brings additional economic benefits, and one such project is the massive Three Gorges Dam.
Electricity generated by the Three Gorges Dam will be carbon neutral, but this and other gains must be balanced against the disastrous ecological cost in other areas, highlighting the compromises that must always be made when undertaking any major infrastructure project. And so it was for this huge engineering development on the Yangtze River, destined to become the world’s largest electricity generating plant.
On the up side is an unending supply of cheap hydroelectricity, improvement of the Yangtze River’s navigation potential and ability to control downstream flooding. The price? Carbon dioxide emitted during the manufacture of millions of tons of concrete used to build the dam made a significant contribution to the acceleration of global warming. Perhaps more significantly, the dam had terrible consequences for the huge number of people displaced from land subsequently flooded as the Three Gorges Reservoir filled, plus the loss of important archaeological and cultural sites to the rising waters.
Added to that is a very real ecological downside – a sharp decrease in the river’s ability to flush away vast quantities of pollutants discharged into its waters, downstream erosion, upstream sedimentation and a marked increase in the number of project-related landslides. The most deadly possibility is that a serious earthquake could breach the dam, with horrendous consequences.
Where: Sandouping, Hubei Province, China
Toll: The loss of homes end land experienced by around 1.25 million people displaced by the Three Gorges Reservoir, plus potentially serious ecological consequences that have not yet become fully manifest.
You should know: The numbers associated with the dam are mind-numbing – it is 2,335 m (7,662 ft) long and 101 m (331 ft) high. Construction commenced in 1994 and the main structure was completed in 2006, creating a reservoir covering an area of 1,045 sq km (403 sq mi) supplied by a catchment area of one million sq km (386,100 sq mi). The dam’s 32 turbines are capable of generating 22,500 MW and a substantial percentage of the $39 billion construction cost was recouped even before the dam’s full generating capacity came on line.