Over the years, China has been increasing the construction of infrastructure in the Yarlung Tsangpo River basin in Tibet, which includes various bridges and tunnels and other infrastructure, as well as large hydropower stations, the most talked about of which is the construction of the Murdoch hydropower station.
Tibet is rich in hydro energy resources, known as "Asia's water tower", and has the unique advantage of developing hydropower. The big data shows that the total exploitable hydro energy resources in China is 678 million kilowatts, of which Tibet has more than 200 million kilowatts of hydro energy resources, accounting for 30% of the country, ranking first among all provinces, regions and cities, and the hydro energy resources in Tibet are mainly concentrated in the main stream of Yarlung Tsangpo River. The hydro energy resources in Tibet are mainly concentrated in the main stream of Yarlung Tsangpo River.
The Yarlung Tsangpo River originates from the Jema Yangtse Glacier at the foot of the northern Himalayas, with a total length of 2,941 km and a basin spanning three countries, of which 2,057 km are in China, flowing into the Indian state of Assam known as the Brahmaputra River (referred to as the Bu River), with a length of 644 km, and the Bangladeshi section known as the Jamuna River, with a length of about 240 km, China is not only the birthplace of the river, but also accounts for the largest proportion.
Why build the Murdoch hydropower plant?
After 2020, the main battlefield of China's hydropower development has gradually shifted from the central-eastern part of China to the transitional zone of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the southeastern Tibetan region of the Transverse Range, that is, the upper reaches of the Jinsha, Lancang and Nu rivers and the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, and has launched the strategically important "Tibetan power outward transmission The "Tibetan Electricity Outbound" Project.
Yarlung Tsangpo River annual average flow of water up to 165.4 billion cubic meters, is more than two times the annual flow of the Yellow River, especially the downstream of the big bend area is "the world's most hydro-energy-rich", in the 1980s, China's water experts to the region to do an assessment of the data contempt, where there are 70 million kilowatts of exploitable resources, and in a few dozen kilometers in a straight line, there are more than two kilometers of drop, is the best area to build dams.
Where is the Murdoch hydropower plant to be built?
The "Great Bend" of the Yarlung Tsangpo River has always been an off-the-beaten-path area, but the value of the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon was only gradually discovered in early 1994 when an official Chinese scientific expedition confirmed for the first time that it was the deepest and largest canyon on earth at 5,382 meters deep and 496.3 kilometers long.
The reason why Murdoch hydropower station is chosen in the location of "Big Bend" is also because of its excellent location. In the hydropower industry, there is a term called "cut off the bend and take the straight", meaning that the bend of dozens of kilometers of water to shorten to a few kilometers, to achieve the purpose of pooling the drop.
Murdoch Hydropower Station is located in the "Big Bend" canyon section from Pai Village of Milin County to Xijang Village of Murdoch County, using the straight section of the river bend to play a 35-kilometer-long giant tunnel to divert water, and then building six large hydropower stations in turn along the Xijangqu River Valley, each with an installed capacity of 10 million kilowatts and a drop of nearly 400 meters, with a total drop of 2,350 meters.
The final total installed capacity of Murdoch Hydropower Station can achieve 60 million kilowatts, with an annual power generation capacity of 300 billion degrees, while the installed capacity of China's largest Three Gorges Hydropower Station is only 22.5 million kilowatts, with a power generation capacity of more than 100 billion degrees/year. The annual power generation capacity of Murdoch Hydropower Station is three times that of Three Gorges Power Station, and will exceed that of the Grand Inga Hydropower Station (44 million kilowatts) on the Congo River in Africa, becoming the largest hydropower station in the world.
How difficult is it to build a hydropower plant in Murdoch?
The Murdoch hydropower plant has extraordinary significance for China's water conservancy construction and the "West-East Electricity Transmission" project, and has huge economic benefits, as well as the role of controlling the water potential of the Yarlung Tsangpo River and helping other countries in the region to regulate floods.
One is the geological complexity and technical difficulty of the project itself
The Three Gorges project took 15 years from 1994 to 2009, with 28 million m³ of concrete poured and 593,000 tons of steel consumed, although the geological structure of the Three Gorges project is complex, the area where it is located is a relatively stable land mass, while the geological structure of the Murdoch Hydropower Station on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is more complex. There is a lot of uncertainty and the Yajiang River is a high mountain canyon type river with a maximum flow speed of 16m/sec, the kinetic energy of the water is stronger and the hydrological risk is higher. There is also the past section of the Murdoch has never had the experience of large-scale hydraulic engineering molding.
Second is the ecological problem
The local ecological environment is fragile and has a very poor self-regulating ability, so a little carelessness in the construction of the project will cause damage to the local environment, and after the construction of the hydropower station, the huge amount of water storage will further cause secondary disasters, in this regard, the Three Gorges Project has had similar lessons.
In these years, in the ecological protection of Tibetan areas, China has also accumulated some experience, in the upper reaches of the Yakang River after the completion of the Zangmu hydropower station, the construction of about 4 kilometers specifically over the fish channel, to open up a green channel for fish migration and breeding. Additional ecological and environmental protection facilities such as fish breeding stations, solar photothermal systems, sewage treatment plants and garbage recycling stations have also been installed along the shore, effectively protecting ecological resources.
Third, investment issues
The investment in Murdoch hydropower plant is huge. As the world's largest installed capacity of hydropower plants, the initial investment budget is 600 billion, and this is still a static investment, after the start of construction, with the progress of the project, the investment will increase, especially Tibet is up to 2,000 kilometers away from the Pearl River Delta and other power load centers, the transmission of electricity and equipment investment is huge, it is expected that the total dynamic investment is likely to reach one trillion, which is not a small amount of money, China currently even with super national power, but to raise such a large amount of money, but also need some time.
Fourth, it is difficult to get around.
Murdoch hydropower station is located in the area of traffic inconvenience, and the construction of roads here not only cost a lot of money, and extremely difficult to maintain, Murdoch as China's most recent road county, now the only Murdoch road before and after the investment of more than 2 billion, with decades of time, finally reached the current traffic conditions, and also can not guarantee the year-round traffic, so to build Murdoch hydropower station, the first thing to do is to solve the traffic problem.
China is currently pushing ahead with the construction of transportation in Tibet, and the under-construction Sichuan-Tibet Railway is expected to be completed and opened to traffic in 2026. Just a few days ago, the main body of the pavement hardening project of the Pai-Mo highway, which was named "China's most beautiful highway" by National Geographic, was completed, which means that the Pai-Mo highway, which has been under repair for 8 years, will be completed and opened to traffic, and there is also a road from Tsatsumi to Motuo in the planning, and in a few years, the traffic condition of Motuo will be completely improved, and the transportation cost will be significantly reduced. In a few years, the traffic condition of Murtaugh will be completely improved, and the transportation cost will be greatly reduced, and the best window for the construction of Murtaugh hydropower station will come.
Five is facing obstruction and opposition from neighboring India
On Nov. 26, 2020, China Power Group Chairman Yan Zhiyong mentioned at the 40th anniversary conference of the China Hydropower Engineering Society that China would "implement hydropower development on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo River," which is the birthplace of the Yarlung River.
In this regard, China has made it clear that the Murdoch hydropower plant is a runoff hydropower project, and will not store water interception and irrigation, damaging the downstream ecology, and quite the opposite, China's construction of water storage dams in the upper reaches, India can get a lot of benefits from it, the first is to be able to cut peak flooding in advance, to alleviate the frequent droughts and floods in Assam, India has a role to play. Secondly, it can play a role in intercepting sediment, which can maintain the capacity of the downstream reservoirs and improve the operational life of the reservoirs.
There are reports that India, in order to counterbalance China, its Federal Ministry of Water Affairs has announced that it will also build a new dam in the Tibetan region with a huge water storage capacity, threatening to compete with China's hydropower plants, while India's domestic water experts are honestly saying that the construction of dams in the Himalayan seismic zone, strong crustal movement, in the event of a strong earthquake, will bring India's doom. There is also the impact of the new crown epidemic, the Indian economy is basically beaten back to the original, simply do not have the ability to support such a large project.
There are more interesting comments from netizens, saying that India once spent 42 years and 22 billion dollars to build a dam, but on the first day of inauguration was swept away by the water, India built a dam downstream, if one day collapse, will not blame us to increase the flow of water, as a "porcelain" it?
In fact, India's biggest concern is the completion of the Murdoch hydropower plant, the power plant has a drop of 2,350 meters and a huge reservoir capacity, will be used as a deterrent to India's weapon, with such a "big pot of water", India itself really feel the enormous pressure, if from this perspective, the construction of the Murdoch hydropower plant really has extraordinary strategic significance.
Ultimately, it boils down to one point: the Murdoch hydropower plant can effectively reduce carbon emissions, and is a super project that benefits the country and the people for the benefit of the world.
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