Yunnan Hydropower Expansion Update on China’s energy industry reforms & the Nu, Lancang & Jinsha hydropower dams

Abstract Energy sector reforms in China have unleashed an explosion in power industry development proposals across the country. Nation-wide there is an intention to almost double hydropower capacity by 2010. The reforms have led to a nation-wide surge in competition between corporate generators to secure actual and potential power-producing ‘assets’, and nowhere are dam builders aspirations’ greater than in the south-west, especially Yunnan Province. Mekong Region is taken to encompass the territory, ecosystems, people, economies and politics of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan Province (Mingsarn Kaosa-ard and Dore 2003). In the past Yunnan has been seen as a peripheral province – both geographically and sociopolitically. However, in terms of both the Mekong Region and China, Yunnan is increasingly important. The purpose of this research paper is to provide a brief update on what is happening in Yunnan – looking at the Nu, Lancang and Jinsha rivers – and then situate this within the wider context of China’s changing political economy.
Author International Rivers/ WORKING PAPER Chiang Mai University’s Unit for Social & Environmental Research & Green Watershed, Kunming, PR of China March 2004
4 Hydropower, 4.2 International Rivers Reports, 4.2.1 Dams in China