People look at the Yangtze River as they stand on a bridge in Badong city

 
People look at the Yangtze River as they stand on a bridge in Badong city
People look at the Yangtze River as they stand on a bridge in Badong city, 100km (62 miles) from the Three Gorges dam in Hubei province August 7, 2012. The environmental problems associated with the Three Gorges dam illustrate China's energy dilemma: To move away from its reliance on coal-fired power plants, Beijing says it has to develop cleaner forms of power. Hydropower is the most cost-effective way China can meet its energy needs, but its problems are still unfolding. China built the dam to tame flooding on the Yangtze, improve shipping and produce pollutant-free power. The dam has a total capacity of 22.5 GW, equivalent to burning 50 million tonnes of coal, according to the Three Gorges' Project State Assessment Report. The dam cost China more than $50 billion and displaced 1.4 million people while another 100,000 people may be moved from Hubei and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing in the next three to five years due to geological risks an official said in April. The number of geological disasters has risen 70 percent since the reservoir reached its maximum height of 175 metres, he said. Picture taken on August 7, 2012. To match story CHINA-THREEGORGES/ REUTERS/Carlos Barria