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Small hydropower development in Tibet: Insights from a survey in Nagqu Prefecture

Small hydropower development in Tibet: Insights from a survey in Nagqu Prefecture
Small hydropower development in Tibet: Insights from a survey in Nagqu Prefecture
Due to its large hydraulic power potential, Tibet has been proposed as the main hydropower development base in China after 2020. This is likely to result in the construction of large and medium sized hydropower projects in this region. To date, small hydropower (SHP) has played an essential role in rural electrification in Tibet. Here we present a review of the status of SHP plants in Tibet and explore its potential based on a field survey conducted in the summer of 2014 in Nagqu Prefecture. The survey revealed that SHP in Nagqu has made it possible for approximately 80,000 local residents (16.3% of the total population) to have access to electricity. Our study shows that SHP suffers from problems such as low utilization of the installed power capacity, high scrap ratio and has severe impacts on the local ecosystem. Moreover, the role of SHP in Tibet's rural electrification is gradually changing with the arrival of the main power grid, which has also impacted existing SHP plants. In order to improve SHP overall sustainability, optimization of existing plants and construction of new plants with highers tandards are deemed necessary. This has to be done with due consideration to the fragile ecosystem in Tibet. Therefore, any expansion in the development of SHP in Tibet should have an appropriate strategy for sustainability and ecosystems conservation and protection.
Small hydropower, rural electrification, sustainability, Tibet
1364-0321
Pang, Mingyue
df885b42-7a5e-4dde-9be4-499bb5489182
Zhang, Lixiao
251331d1-cbd1-4382-b7e0-24ca5e3f4be1
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
Zu, Kaipeng
8b26a656-62dd-49b9-ae9f-9924854fe42b
Hao, Yan
add32e61-7118-4ef1-92f6-4d9067fc79d9
Wang, Changbo
f0ed7e7e-c551-493e-838b-1ace38aa3e0f
Pang, Mingyue
df885b42-7a5e-4dde-9be4-499bb5489182
Zhang, Lixiao
251331d1-cbd1-4382-b7e0-24ca5e3f4be1
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
Zu, Kaipeng
8b26a656-62dd-49b9-ae9f-9924854fe42b
Hao, Yan
add32e61-7118-4ef1-92f6-4d9067fc79d9
Wang, Changbo
f0ed7e7e-c551-493e-838b-1ace38aa3e0f

Pang, Mingyue, Zhang, Lixiao, Bahaj, Abubakr, Zu, Kaipeng, Hao, Yan and Wang, Changbo (2017) Small hydropower development in Tibet: Insights from a survey in Nagqu Prefecture. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. (doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.06.115).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Due to its large hydraulic power potential, Tibet has been proposed as the main hydropower development base in China after 2020. This is likely to result in the construction of large and medium sized hydropower projects in this region. To date, small hydropower (SHP) has played an essential role in rural electrification in Tibet. Here we present a review of the status of SHP plants in Tibet and explore its potential based on a field survey conducted in the summer of 2014 in Nagqu Prefecture. The survey revealed that SHP in Nagqu has made it possible for approximately 80,000 local residents (16.3% of the total population) to have access to electricity. Our study shows that SHP suffers from problems such as low utilization of the installed power capacity, high scrap ratio and has severe impacts on the local ecosystem. Moreover, the role of SHP in Tibet's rural electrification is gradually changing with the arrival of the main power grid, which has also impacted existing SHP plants. In order to improve SHP overall sustainability, optimization of existing plants and construction of new plants with highers tandards are deemed necessary. This has to be done with due consideration to the fragile ecosystem in Tibet. Therefore, any expansion in the development of SHP in Tibet should have an appropriate strategy for sustainability and ecosystems conservation and protection.

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pagination_RSER_7765 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 26 June 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 July 2017
Keywords: Small hydropower, rural electrification, sustainability, Tibet

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415371
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415371
ISSN: 1364-0321
PURE UUID: 4cb1f163-a70c-4d94-a030-b554a11b2ce9
ORCID for Abubakr Bahaj: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0043-6045

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 05:02

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