China is the leading country in the construction of dams across the globe, ahead of Turkey and Japan. There are over 87,000 dams in China, 12 of which are over 200 metres tall. Dams are generally constructed to serve purposes such as the generation of hydroelectric power, to control flooding, to reduce the imminence of drought and tourism.
The Tallest Dams In China
1. Jinping-I Dam - 305 m
The tallest dam in China is the Jinping-I dam in Sichuan Province. It is a double curvature arch dam standing at a height of 305 metres. The Jinping-I is also the tallest completed dam in the world. It is located on the Yalong River over the Dahewan main station where it generates up to 3.6 million kilowatt-hours of hydroelectricity. It was completed in 2013.
2. Xiaowan Dam - 292 m
The second-tallest dam in China is the Xiaowan Dam in Yunnan Province on the Lacang River. It is 292 metres high. The dam was constructed primarily to generate hydroelectric power, generating up to 4,200 megawatts. It also controls floods. The Xiaowan dam was completed on March 2010.
3. Xiluodu Dam - 285.5 m
Third in line is the Xiluodu dam in Yunnan province on the Jinsha River. It was completed in 2013. It primarily generates hydroelectric power with an installed capacity of 13,860 megawatts.
4. Nuozhadu Dam - 261.5 m
Nuozhadu dam is the fourth tallest dam in China. It is also located in Yunnan province on the Lacang River and is 261.5 metres tall. It was completed in 2013, also for hydroelectric generation.
5. Laxiwa Dam - 250 m
Laxiwa dam comes fifth with a height of 250 metres. It is located in Qinghai province on the Yellow River. It was completed in 2009.
6. Ertan Dam - 240 m
The sixth tallest dam in China is the Ertan dam with a height of 240 m. It is located in Sichuan Province on the Yalong River. The dam was completed in 1999.
7. Shuibuya Dam - 233 m
Shuibuya dam is the seventh tallest dam in China at 233 metres high. It is found in Hubei province on the Qing River. It was completed in 2008.
8. Goupitan Dam - 232.5 m
Goupitan dam in Guizhou Province is the eighth largest in China at 232.5 metres high. It was completed in 2009 and is located on the Wu River.
9. Jiangpinghe Dam - 221 m
Jiangpinghe dam comes ninth in China’s list with a height of 221 metres. It is found in Hubei Province on the Loushui River. The dam was completed in 2012.
10. Longtan Dam - 216 m
The tenth tallest dam in China is Longtan dam at 216 metres. It is found in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Hongshui River. The dam was completed in 2009.
11. Dagangshan Dam - 210 m
Dagangshan dam is the eleventh tallest dam in China at 210 metres. It is found in Sichuan Province on Dadu River. The dam was completed in 2015.
12. Guangzhao Dam - 200.5 m
Guangzhao dam is the twelfth and last dam in China that is taller than 200 metres. It is 200.5 metres high and located in Yunnan Province on the Beipan River. It was completed in 2004.
Source Of Renewable Energy
China has four of the top ten tallest dams in the world. These dams generate large amounts of hydroelectricity which acts as China’s leading source of renewable energy. As of 2015, the hydroelectric capacity of China was 319 gigawatts, with an estimated rise of up to 350 gigawatts in 2020. Their construction does not come without fault, having led to the displacement of approximately 15 million people from 1949 and erosion in some of the surrounding lands.