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Rivers without Boundaries Warns China Export-Import Bank against Risky Loan to Russian Hydropower Company

13 March 2013 Topics:
clip_image002 Contacts:Eugene Simonov ( ??), International Coordinator, Rivers without Boundaries: tel.+86-15041144074

simonov@riverswithoutboundaries.org,

Aliona Zenkova, Financial advocacy coordinator, Rivers without Boundaries: tel.+86-13488687464alinazenkova@gmail.com,

RwB web-site: www.transrivers.org

 

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March 14, 2013

Rivers without Boundaries Warns China Export-Import Bank against Risky Loan to Russian Hydropower Company

On this International Day of Action for Rivers and Against the Large Dams the Rivers without Boundaries coalition has warned the China Export-Import Bank and the China Yangtze Power/Three Gorges Corporation against supporting dangerous dam projects in Russia.

For 3 years, experts have increasingly criticized Russian hydropower corporations, primarily related to the illegal construction of the Boguchanskaya Hydro Project on the Angara River and the financial mismanagement by the owners: Rusal and Rushydro corporations. Strong criticism was also evoked by plans of  EuroSibEnergo\En+ Group to build the Nizhne-Angarskaya Hydropower plant on the Angara River,  and  the Trans-Sibirskaya Hydropower plant on the Shilka River, as well as other dams along the transboundary Amur River. EuroSibEnergo\En+ Group operations have also negatively affected the Lake Baikal ecosystem –  the largest freshwater body on Earth holding 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh surface water, recognized as UNESCO World

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Research and reports by RwB and other experts have recorded numerous problems in Russian hydropower projects, including mismanagement of water resources and seasonal water flows, lack of implementation of EIA and environmental laws, destruction of wetlands, loss of fish and other natural resources, improper land management, and lack of legal or other systems to address most issues.

Practically all remaining rivers of China are being dammed or have plans for dams at every possible point and their ecosystems sentenced to destruction. Now, the largest energy corporations from Russia and China are turning their eyes to the still free-flowing rivers of Russia to continue to grow their industry.  What is at stake are globally significant aquatic biodiversity of Amur, Yenisei, Lena river basins and the Lake Baikal, and the well-being of local people and local minorities

Most projects planned or under construction in Asian Russia involve Chinese partners; including formation of Yes-Energo joint venture formed by Yangtze Power and EuroSibEnergo, China EXIM Bank loan guarantees to En+, China State Grid construction of 500kWt transmission line into Heilongjiang Province from hydropower plants of Amurskaya Province. The companies

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doing these projects tell opposite stories for different audiences: in China Russian EN+  announces that “35 GW of new generation capacity will be developed to benefit China over the next 15 years”, while inside Russia, people are told that all proposed hydropower plants are intended primarily for domestic use.

China EXIM Bank, Yangtze Power, and the HK Exchange, other investors and financial institutions should not support haphazard proposals for quick hydropower development in Russia. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition believes that it is possible to avoid environmental damage and prevent social injustice through sustainable development planning at

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the basin-wide level. A clear list of “no-go areas” for hydropower must be developed with regulations protecting river ecosystems and indigenous communities, as well as undertaking Strategic environmental assessments and EIAs and ensuring wide public participation starting from the earliest planning phases. Until a transparent planning process is underway and participating companies develop credible environmental and social policies, any attempt to dramatically increase electricity exports from Russia will be associated with huge environmental and social risks and losses.

Available additional materials and reports:

Letter to China EXIM Bank (PDF)

Letter to China Yangtze Power Co. (PDF )

Why En+ promises to deliver electricity to China are hard to fulfill (PDF)

Appeal to HKEx on EuroSibEnergo plans to seek investors

Letter to Prime minister of China on negative impacts of Hydropower Development

Sino-Russian Hydropower in Amur River Basin: Options for the Future

Threats of Transsibirskaya Hydropower project on Shilka River ”

Acting Governor of Zabaikalsky Kray disapproves Hydropower Plant on Shilka River

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Figure: Location of proposed Trans-Sibirskaya Hydro site on Shilka River superimposed on the map of Sino-Soviet Scheme to dam Amur-Heilong River.

 

 

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8. Acting Governor of Zabaikalsky Kray disapproves Hydropower Plant on Shilka River

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