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'Clean energy' with a murky past

By Li Jing | China Daily | Updated: 2009-08-13 07:44

With an abundance of major waterways, hydropower is seen by many experts as the perfect way to improve the energy mix of a country in which 64 percent of its primary power comes from coal.

The attempted exploitation of this "clean energy", however, has been the source of much heated debate between governments, developers, power companies and environmentalists.

In the 1980s, the Gezhouba facility in Yichang, Hubei province, was the first hydro-electricity project to be built on the Yangtze River and cost almost 5 billion yuan ($731 million). However, as well as boosting power supplies in the region, it also blocked the migration route of the Chinese sturgeon, a unique species that has lived in the Yangtze for more than 140 million years.

'Clean energy' with a murky past

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