Wednesday, July 17, 2013

China's second largest hydro plant starts operating

China's Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. Hydropower continues to play significant role in China's energy mix, and the latest proof to this comes from the Jinsha river, between Leibo county of Sichuan Province and Yongshan county of Yunnan Province in southwest China where a few days ago, a first generator unit started operating in Xiluodu hydropower station.

Once fully constructed,  Xiluodu hydropower station, will become second largest hydropower station in the country, behind the Three Gorges Dam. It is expected that this plant will become fully operational by the end of 2014.

The total generating capacity of this huge hydro project is expected to be 13,860 MW. This project was halted in the past due to lack of environmental impact studies but Chinese government later restarted the construction. The environmental fears however still remain, and some believe that this new plant could cause major environmental damage like this was the case with Three Gorges Dam.

The total investment in this project is set to pass $7 billion mark. The Chinese government hopes that this new plant will not only add to power generation but also control sediment and flooding, as well as improving navigation downstream. It has been also announced that the power output of this hydro project will be equivalent to that generated by 41 million tons of coal.