Chinese ministry stops 1,000-MW Xiaonanhai hydroelectric project

China Map

A letter sent by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection to the China Three Gorges Corporation has halted development of the country's 1,000-MW Xiaonanhai hydroelectric project.

The project -- slated for construction on an upper stretch of the Yangtze River known as the Jinsha River in China's southwest region -- has been blocked primarily due to concerns regarding its impact on an ecologically significant portion of the country.

"In the last 10 years, two investigations have been carried out into construction in precious and unique national protection zones for fish in the lower reaches of the Jinsha River, and the structure and function of the zones have already been heavily impacted," the ministry said. "[China Three Gorges] as well as other units cannot plan or build the Xiaonanhai hydropower plant."

Despite the ministry's opposition, however, the project might still ultimately be constructed if the decision is vetoed by China's State Council.

Xiaonanhai is one of more than 170 hydro projects announced by China in recent years. The plants are expected to have a cumulative output capacity of more than 90,000 MW and are part of the Chinese government's efforts to reduce coal-fired generating plants.

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