China started work on its largest hydropower station in the Tibetan region of Sichuan this week.

The hydropower station situated in the southwest on the Yalong river will start operations by 2021 and is expected to generate 3 gigawatts of power, reports Xinhua.

With a total reservoir capacity of 10.8 billion cubic metres, the 305-metre-high dam will be bigger than the 22 gigawatt Three Gorges Dam and cost approximately 54 billion yuan (5 billion pounds), says DW.

A subsidiary of the State Development and Investment Corporation is in charge of the construction and management of the hydropower station.

With 70% of the energy generated earmarked for western China, the dam represents one of the steps in China's efforts to replace coal with hydropower.

China is reported to have built about 23 dams of different sizes on the same river. The Yalong is a tributary of the Yangtze.

China also plans to construct huge dams over the Brahmaputra river in Tibet which has raised concerns in India.

By 2020, China aims to generate 120 gigawatts of renewable energy, most of it from hydroelectric power.

Most of the rivers being dammed for the mega dams originate in the unstable Tibetan plateau. Besides being built in highly seismic zones to moderate zones, the water storage also adds to occurrence of quakes.

Many studies have shown the link between quakes and dams nearby.

China's domestic dams are reported to have displaced 23 million people besides affecting water availability and quality.

But China continues undaunted in pursuit of power to fuel its ambitious economic growth.