As Wen Jiabao departs, China's dam plans to accelerate

The number of new hydro-power projects in China could surge. 

This, as the country's populist premier Wen Jiabao retires, and a new leadership team races to meet ambitious 20-20 energy goals. 

Dam building slowed considerably under Mr Wen, who personally intervened to block hydropower projects, and avoid the potential for protest from local populations. 

Projects such as the 59 billion U-S dollars Three Gorges Dam have been the focus of criticism over the social and environmental cost China is paying for development. 

More dams could be a tough sell, as an increasingly affluent public pushes back against a "growth at all costs" economic model. 

As China's new leaders consider how to power expansion, however, they have little choice but to push ahead with hydro-power given that alternatives like coal or nuclear fueled power may be even less palatable to the population.