China is planning to build a super dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet, to generate 300 billion kilowatts of electricity every year. The project received formal clearance in March at the annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber stamp parliament, although it was short on details, timeframe or budget.
But details now coming out indicate that last October, the Tibet local government signed a “strategic cooperation agreement” with Power China, a government firm specialising in hydro projects. A month later, it was reported that the head of Power China had briefed the Communist Youth League, a wing of the Communist Party, on some of the details.
It appears the super dam could be even bigger than the Three Gorges Dam, currently rated the world’s biggest power station. That dam also displaced more than one million people and angered environmental groups. It is likely that the super dam will raise concerns in India about China manipulating the flow of the Brahmaputra for its own ends.