The second largest hydroelectric dam in the world comes into operation in China
The Baihetan hydroelectric power station, located in southwestern China, ranks second in the world in terms of power generation.
China commissioned the world's second-largest hydroelectric plant on Monday, which authorities see as a milestone towards carbon neutrality targets despite warnings of environmental damage.
The 289-meter-high Baihetan Hydroelectric Plant in southwest China ranks second in the world in terms of power generation, behind only the Three Gorges Dam, and partially began operating on Monday the morning, state media reported.
Baihetan has a total installed capacity of 16,000 megawatts, which means that, over time, it will be able to generate enough electricity each day to meet the energy needs of 500,000 people for an entire year, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The dam runs through a deep and narrow gorge in the upper reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river, on the border between earthquake-prone Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said he hoped the plant could "contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality targets," in a message released by the government.
Environmental groups have been warning for years that dam building disrupts the habitats of rare plants and animals, such as the endangered Yangtze finless porpoise.
The construction of dams on the river has changed the sediments in the water and causes "a large-scale hydrophysical and human health risk that affects the downstream Yangtze River basins," wrote scientists in a paper published this month in the Science of the Total Environment magazine.
Huge engineering projects have also displaced hundreds of thousands of local communities in China and concern neighboring countries.