Baihetan is the largest arch dam in the world and an energy monster to supply 500,000 inhabitants for a year
Human energy needs are far from diminishing with a growing number of the world’s population and with more and more electric devices and vehicles in our lives, and this is coupled with attempts to turn to renewable energy sources. And in an attempt to harness the mechanical energy of water, and incidentally aspire to another world record, the great project of the Baihetan dam.
As you may have guessed (or already knew), this is another mega-construction in China. And from the creators of the longest bridge in the world and the longest glass bridge in the world, now comes the dam that aspires to be the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. The other.
Wait: this sounds familiar to us
The Baihetan Dam project completes, in turn, the country’s great hydroelectric project Asian that began with something that perhaps sounds familiar to us when talking about huge dams: the Three Gorges Dam. A structure that, for now, has the title of the largest power plant in the world.
Construction of Baihetan began in 2017, located on the Jinsha River (in southwest China, an upper section of the Yangtze, the longest river in the country and on the Asian continent). According to Xi Jinping, President of the ROC, “Baihetan is the largest and most complex hydroelectric power project currently under construction in the world,” which in theory would be above the Three Gorges, although the calculations They put it below in several respects.
16,000 MW, 500,000 inhabitants, 1 year
It is a double-curved arch dam that reaches 277 meters in height, which will be at least higher than its monstrous predecessor (185 meters). The crest elevation is 827 meters and the length of the central arch is 709 meters, with a width of 72 meters at the base and 13 meters at the crest, considering the largest arch dam in the world (with the permission of Xiaowan’s.
The 16,000 MW promised would give to give to meet the energy demand of up to 500,000 people for a year, according to estimates
The objective is for it to reach the generation of more than 10 gigawatts, like the rest of the dams of the “megaproject” that we mentioned before. Baihetan will pull its 16 turbines to generate 16.000 MW, with what they promise that it will give to satisfy the energy demand of up to 500,000 people during a year.
With these data, in terms of generation capacity, it would be the second largest hydroelectric power plant in the worldprecisely after the Three Gorges Dam (22,500 MW). It would be above that of Xiloudu (13.86 GW) and that of Wundongde (still under construction, in theory it will reach 10.2 GW).
After installing the first of its 16 turbines in 2019, its construction was completed in June 2021, which is not far from a long time for such a structure, apparently due to some urgency from Xi before the objective of neutrality of carbon in 2060. It was two days later, on June 28, when it started generating energy (with two of the turbines) and it is expected that by 2022 it will be fully operational.
And meanwhile, the debate with the dams
As with the construction of the Three Gorges, the Baihetan was also criticized by environmental advocacy groups in the country. The reason: the obvious environmental impact in the habitats and also in the agriculture of the area. In addition, it must be taken into account that although they are considered a “greener” alternative to gas and coal plants, it is calculated that dams are responsible for 1.3% of the greenhouse gas emissions that humanity generates.
The proof that this did not stop the scale of the project is the dam itself, which, as we say, has already been built. In fact, here we have already seen that old dams are a danger to power. be overwhelmed due (in part) to climate change, and this is something that has not slowed the development of large dams either. We will see what happens in the future and, as for Baihetan, if it meets its energy targets.
Imagen | Spanish China.org