China is looking to add 120 gigawatts of hydroelectric power by 2015 to the current 197 gigawatts. China sees hydropower as a major part of its ambitious plan to increase use of non-fossil fuel by 15 percent, and improve the energy efficiency of its economy by 40 to 45 percent in a decade.
Chinese engineers have proposed a Tibet dam that would be over two times larger than the Three Gorges Dam.
The Tsangpo-Brahmaputra – until recently considered the last great undammed river in Tibet – will be the next focus of chinese government efforts to increase the nation’s power supply. One of them is a map of planned dams showing a 38-gigawatt hydro-plant at Motuo
The exploitation of the Brahmaputra is already under way. China recently announced plans to build five dams further upstream, including a 500MW hydroplant at Zangmu, which is under construction by the power utility Huaneng.
According to Tsering, the biggest of them will be a huge plant at the great bend – either at Metog, known as Motuo in Chinese, or at Daduqia. The former would involve the construction of a series of tunnels, pipes, reservoirs and turbines to exploit the spectacular 2,000-metre fall of the river as it curls down towards India.
Although there has been no official confirmation of plans for a dam, the discussion is far from secret. On a prominent Chinese science forum, Zhang said a dam on the great bend was the ultimate hope for water resource exploitation because it could generate energy equivalent to 100m tonnes of crude coal, or all the oil and gas in the South China sea.