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Hydroelectric Power

Provides an overview of where hydroelectric power and some of its benefits and costs.

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World's Biggest Dam

World’s Biggest Dam

Credit: Tomasz Dunn
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63651050@N00/3459487108
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest hydropower project in the world. The consequences of this project are both very good and very bad.

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Credit: United States Tennessee Valley Authority employee
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hydroelectric_dam.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A look inside a hydroelectric dam [Figure2]

  • The Three Gorges Dam stretches across the Yangtze River in China.
  • Construction of the dam was a marvel – and it was even completed early!
  • When the water level in the reservoir rises and falls it can trigger landslides.
  • Species of plants and animals are lost as their habitats become flooded. Pollution in the lake may cause some fish to die off.
  • The dam has been fully operational as of July, 2012.

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With the links below, learn more about the Three Gorges Dam, Then answer the following questions.

  1. What are the benefits from the Three Gorges Dam?
  2. Where does China currently get the majority of its energy? What is the advantage of hydroelectric power over this source?
  3. What are the pollution issues with the water in the reservoir created by the dam?
  4. What is the evidence that the reservoir might trigger earthquakes?
  5. How was the historical record of China’s past affected by the dam?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Tomasz Dunn; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63651050@N00/3459487108; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: United States Tennessee Valley Authority employee; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hydroelectric_dam.png; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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