China is not necessarily the first country that comes to mind when we talk about the largest producer of electricity in the world. However, it is indeed in this country that is located the dam which swept the record of electricity production in 2020. It is the Three Gorges dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, located on the Yangzi River. Jiang, China.
According to information from China.org.cn , this dam set a new world record for the annual volume of electricity production from a single hydropower plant. Its clean electricity production for 2020 was effectively 111.795 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), blithely surpassing the previous world record set by the Itaipu Dam in Brazil, which was 103.098 billion kWh in 2016.
By way of comparison, hydropower installations in France only generated an annual average of 63 billion kWh during the period from 2010 to 2019.
A production equivalent to a third of the production of the French nuclear fleet
As SciencePost explains, the production of China's Three Gorges Dam is not only immense, it is also exceptional. So much so that it represents no less than a third of the production of the entire French nuclear fleet in 2020.
For information, this dam, operated by the China Yangtze Power company, has been in service since 2003. It is the main supplier of electricity in China and supplies the east and the south of China with electricity. It has 34 turbogenerators with a combined production capacity of 22.5 million kWh. From 2003 until the end of 2020, this dam has already generated a total of 1.3 trillion kWh of clean electricity.
China runs towards clean energy … but does not forsake coal
According to information from China.org.cn, China aims to establish a clean, safe, efficient and low-carbon energy system. The volume of clean electricity generated by the Three Gorges Dam has already saved the country 34.39 million tonnes of coal and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 94.02 million tonnes; the sulfur dioxide emissions of 224,000 tonnes and those of nitrogen oxides of 212,000 tonnes.
However, despite these gargantuan figures, China is still very far from being the cleanest country in the world. Indeed, China is still a large user of coal, so much so that coal accounts for 57% of its electricity consumption. And even if the Chinese government wants to increase the capacity of its power plants by 21%, China is still struggling to shed its title as a coal country and continues to provide 47% of global coal production.