Category Archives: China

Climate Change Evaporates Part of China's Hydropower

Climate Change Evaporates Part of China’s Hydropower: Scientific American.

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WATER FALL: Unusually low water levels in many Chinese rivers has contributed to a big drop in hydropower production. Image: Tomasz Dunn/Flickr

SHANGHAI — China has set ambitious goals for itself to develop hydropower to help mitigate the risks of climate change, but increasing extreme weather events likely rooted in climate change are now sabotaging the goals’ foundations.

The latest blow came in September, when many major rivers across China ran into an unusual shrinkage, with less than 20 percent water remaining at some stretches. As a result, the nation’s hydroelectric generation dropped by almost a quarter compared with last year. There has been an ever-widening decrease in power each month since July, according to a recent government statement.

As water stocks in key hydro stations decline, the regular dry season is approaching. The resulting stress on hydroelectric generation will last into next year, the statement said.

The Chinese government has yet to explain why the water flows slumped. But experts blamed it on climate change, warning of more future droughts in areas traditionally blessed with water.

If this expectation comes true, it will hamper China’s hydropower sector, which contributes most of the country’s carbon-free electricity. It will also threaten a national strategy in transmitting electricity from resource-rich western China to feed the country’s power-hungry manufacturing sector, most of which is in the east.

For Guangdong province, located on China’s east coast, this threat has already turned into a daily reality. Since its western neighbors this year failed to send as much electricity as usual, the manufacturing hub, with a capacity to produce more than half of the world’s desktops and toys, is forced to conserve electricity.

Turbines left high and dry
China Southern Power Grid, the region’s electricity distributor, attributed the energy shortage partly to the evaporation of hydropower.

As of July, on average, not even half of its installed hydropower capacity found water to turn turbines, the company’s statistics show. And several major hydro stations, built as part of the west-to-east electricity transmission plan, failed to do their jobs.

Goupitan, the largest hydroelectric generator in Guizhou province, reportedly produced only 10 percent of its normal output per day, due to shrinking water flows. And in another hydro station called Longtan, located in the Guangxi region, this year’s missing rain dropped its reservoir’s water level to a point dozens of meters lower than previous years.

“This will definitely negatively affect our hydroelectric production from now to next summer,” said Li Yanguang, who is in charge of public relations in the power station. Asked whether next summer — a regular rainy season — could make the situation better, Li answered in a cautious tone.

“This totally depends on weather,” he said. “We can’t predict that.”

Hydro growth plan sticks despite falling power output
But Lin Boqiang, one of China’s leading energy experts, is confident that the nation’s hydroelectric generation may just go in one direction: getting worse.

“If climate change caused this year’s water flow decreases, which I think it did, and then its impact [on rivers] will be a long term. It will take a toll on China’s hydroelectric output, and also push up the cost of using it,” explained Lin, who directs the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.

But still, from Lin’s point of view, such setbacks can’t compete with the Chinese desire for tapping more water power. China, already the world’s largest hydropower user, plans to add another 120 gigawatts by 2015 — a crucial step toward greening 15 percent of its power mix by the end of the decade.

Yang Fuqiang, a senior climate and energy expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, agreed that China’s hydropower plan will stand, though not primarily for energy supply concerns.

Although a climate-resilient approach is factored into the designs of hydro projects, China is still likely to suffer from hydroelectric output decline, says Yang. But the nation can seek more clean energy from the sun or wind, which won’t be affected by climate change, and get the electricity generated elsewhere via a smart grid, he said, referring to an advanced transmission infrastructure China has been building.

So what’s the point of keeping hydro?

“In the future, the importance of hydro projects won’t be on power generation, but on water management,” Yang explained. “It helps control floods, ensure ships transportation and reserve water — a function that [water-scarce] China needs badly.”

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC., 202-628-6500

Typhoon forces evacuation of 20k people in China – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | World News :: Typhoon forces evacuation in China.

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China has warned residents and alerted emergency relief centres to prepare for Typhoon Muifa (AP)

Saturday August 6,2011

More than 200,000 coastal residents in eastern China have been evacuated and thousands of ships were called back to shore as Typhoon Muifa bears down on the country.

More than 200,000 coastal residents in eastern China have been evacuated and thousands of ships were called back to shore as Typhoon Muifa bears down on the country.

Zhejiang province moved 206,664 people from its coastal areas while another 80,400 were evacuated in Fujian province, according to local government websites.

Typhoon Muifa – which has already battered the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan, is forecast to hit China early on Monday morning, making landfall in the eastern province of Shandong and skimming the coast as it heads north, China’s Central Meteorological Administration said.

Though earlier forecasts put China’s commercial hub of Shanghai directly in the typhoon’s path, the city of 23 million appears to have dodged the brunt of the storm. It was still expected to experience torrential rains and high winds, the administration said.

Dozens of flights in and out of Shanghai and the nearby cities of Wenzhou and Hangzhou were cancelled as a precaution and more than 500 people evacuated from Shanghai’s coastal areas.

The municipal government said rail authorities were also prepared to slow or delay high-speed rail services, depending on the severity of the storm.

Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines even though it did not make landfall. The storm caused power outages and injuries as it passed by Japan’s southern island of Okinawa and dusted northern Taiwan with light rain and moderate winds.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency said the typhoon caused 27 injuries on Okinawa and knocked out power to more than 60,000 homes.

North Korea’s state news agency reported that some parts of the country would receive heavy rain from the typhoon between Monday and Tuesday.

Flooding in recent weeks has caused deaths and damage to homes and farmland in the impoverished country.

Worst flooding since '55: 2 million suffer in China – Weather –

Worst flooding since ’55: 2 million suffer in China – Weather –

Image: Woman uses pail in Wuhan, China


A woman uses a pail to remove water from a flooded store in Wuhan, China, on Saturday. news services news services
updated 6/19/2011 4:11:44 AM ET 2011-06-19T08:11:44

More than 2 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

Torrential rains have left huge areas of the relatively wealthy province underwater, with 42,254 acres of farmland inundated, according to Xinhua.

Xinhua reported that almost 1,000 businesses have been forced to suspend operations and 2.6 million people have had their lives disrupted. Direct financial damages were estimated at almost 5 billion yuan ($772 million).

Flooding in eastern and southern China this month has left more than 170 people dead or missing.

The government has described the floods in some areas, such as eastern Zhejiang’s Qianting River area, as the worst since 1955.

Roads and railways have been blocked, but aid supplies are arriving. The country’s weather bureau says skies are expected to clear up Monday.

Incipient disaster: China's 3 Gorges Dam

good for a long narrative time-story.. what did this cost in PEOPLE, environment, then destruction…?

see’CRACKS IN DAM’ after’more’

Record water levels test China’s giant dam

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Record water levels test China’s giant dam

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China: cracks in the Three Gorges Dam, so 300,000 people can wave goodbye to their homes

Continue reading Incipient disaster: China's 3 Gorges Dam