(TibetanReview.net, Jun28’23) – China said Jun 25 that the first phase of the Kela photovoltaic (PV) power station, the world’s largest and highest-altitude hydropower and PV complementary power station it is building in occupied eastern Tibet, had begun producing electricity on Jun 25. But it now appears that the Chinese government had failed or simply refused to compensate the nomadic and other Tibetans on whose land the project stands, according to the Tibetan service of rfa.org Jun 27.
Nomadic Tibetans who once grazed their cattle in the area now covered by a sea of solar panels were forced away and offered nothing in return, the report cited a Tibetan who lives near Kela as saying.
“The Chinese government has begun operating the largest solar power station along with the hydropower dams in Nyagchu County in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) beginning June 24,” the resident has said.
“In order to build and facilitate these power plants, the Chinese government has displaced the local Tibetans in these regions in a land-grab and has not given any compensation yet.”
In fact, local Tibetans were not even informed before the project started, the resident said.
“Instead, police were stationed near these power plants and locals were not permitted near them,” the resident has said. “Though the authorities told the local Tibetans that these power plants would be beneficial to livestock and their pastures, but now the Tibetan nomads are being displaced and pushed away to other places.”
Another Tibetan resident said the nomads had filed complaints with the Chinese government, but to no avail.
Besides, though claimed to be designed to generate clean energy, both the solar and hydro components of the power project pose a serious threat to Tibet’s fragile environment, Lobsang Yangtso, an environmental researcher at the San Francisco-based Tibet International Network, has said.
“China’s policies and the expansion of infrastructure in Tibet are the cause of earthquakes, floods and various types of irreversible damage to the ecosystem,” she has maintained.
With an annual energy output of 2 billion kilowatt-hours, the first phase of the Kela photovoltaic power station has the capacity to meet the energy demand of up to 700,000 households, said the scmp.com Jun 26, citing state media.
The plant is part of a huge renewable production base planned by the Chinese government to eventually generate clean energy for 100 million households – almost equal to the US population – for the length of the 1,500km-long river, the report said.