In units of electricity that is a total of around 100 billion kWh per year (worth around £5bn per year at UK retail prices). Approximately 3% of China’s vast power needs are met by the hydropower plant reducing carbon monoxide emissions by over 10,000 tons per year in a country where 80% of power is currently generated by burning coal.
The dam has created an artificial reservoir 660km long which caused the flooding of 632 square kilometers of land. This has displaced 1.3 million people and destroyed over 1,000 towns and villages. Pictured above is an image of the Three Gorges region before the construction of the dam. The total cost of the project was claimed to be under $25 billion, however real costs were believed to have been as much $100 billion by mid-2012 when the project was officially completed.
The dam itself is over 1.4 miles long and 185 metres high and is constructed from 25 million cubic metres of concrete, and over 450,000 tonnes of steel.
Although hydropower is seen by most to be good for the environment thanks to its ability to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, there are now concerns that hydro electricity generation contributes to global warming, and may in many cases lead to more climate change than coal power stations.
Here is an excellent documentary about the Three Gorges Dam, its design, and its construction.