Power plants will double output of Three Gorges Dam

BEIJING – The China Three Gorges Corporation says four planned hydroelectric power stations being built on the Jinsha River will be capable of producing twice as much power as the Three Gorges Dam, which is currently the world’s largest-capacity hydroelectric power plant.

The company says the four new plants on the river, which is part of the boundary between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, will be able to pump out 43 million kilowatts.

The four stations together will generate about 190 billion kilowatts of electricity a year after they come online during the next few years, according to a report released by the China Three Gorges Corporation on Sunday.

The corporation received approval to build the massive plants in 2002 on the river that is one of the major headwaters feeding the Yangtze River.

The power stations will be named Xiluodu, Xiangjiaba, Wudongde and Baihetan.

Construction of the Xiluodu hydropower station started in 2005 and is scheduled to be completed in 2013. It will have an installed capacity of 13.86 million kilowatts, making it the second-largest hydropower station in China. Work on the Xiangjiaba station started in 2006 and it will be put into operation in 2012. The other two facilities are still in the design stage, the report said.

The report also explained the rationale behind the construction of the Three Gorges Dam itself.

Chen Fei, general manager of the China Three Gorges Corporation, said its main task is to help with drought relief and flood control and that the production of electricity is one of its other roles.

“We closely monitor weather conditions and hydrological changes on the Yangtze River and are prepared to control larger floods,” Chen said. “Flood control is the most important task of our project now.”

Zhu Guangming, director of the corporation’s publicity department, told China Daily the Three Gorges Dam has helped China deal with the recent severe drought.

“The Three Gorges Dam didn’t cause the drought, which lingered in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River for months, but instead supplied those stricken areas with large quantities of water and relieved the drought greatly,” Zhu said.

“While floods following the drought hit some areas after the start of June, they were limited.”

The report also explained that the Three Gorges project is capable of protecting the Jianghan Plain from floods in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. The dam is capable of dealing with a peak flow rate up to 113,000 cubic meters per second.

It was the first time the China Three Gorges Corporation had released such a “responsibility report”, but “the release of the document was not in response to criticism from the public”, Zhu said.

“We began to prepare this report in the second half of 2010,” he explained.

After a severe drought hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and persisted until May and when it was followed by floods this month, some critics questioned whether the Three Gorges Dam had caused or aggravated the situation and asked whether it was capable of controlling floods.

The 121 large State-owned enterprises are expected to release reports on corporate social responsibility during 2012, in line with a requirement from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

China Daily

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