Yunnan Hydropower Expansion

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Update on China’s energy industry reforms and the Nu, Lancang and Jinsha hydropower dams

The purpose of this research paper is to provide a brief update on what is happening in Yunnan – looking at the Nu, Lancang and Jinsha rivers – and then situate this within the wider context of China’s changing political economy. There are two key messages this report seeks to deliver. First, there is a need for China to revisit the energy policy, including the hydropower component, in the light of the new direction signalled by the New and Scientific Development Concept announced in 2003 by China’s new political leadership, and reinforced by President Hu Jintao at the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in March 2004. Second, there is a need to overhaul energy development governance processes including: option formulation, debate, evaluation, negotiation and monitoring. The approval and impact assessment processes are two key areas requiring strengthening.