Thursday, June 23, 2011

China to build new hydroelectric power plants

Nation to build new hydroelectric power plants
By Du Juan (China Daily)
2011-06-23 07:48

BEIJING - China will invest 400 billion yuan ($62 billion) in the
construction of four hydroelectric dams, to help the government boost
the share of non-fossil fuels in national energy consumption.

The country will increase the share of non-fossil sources to 20 percent
of national energy consumption by 2030 and to one-third by 2050, said
Han Wenke, director of the Energy Research Center at the National
Development and Reform Commission on Wednesday.

"There is no doubt that the country is able to increase non-fossil
sources to 15 percent of the energy mix by 2020," he said.

China Three Gorges Corp will be in charge of the four hydroelectric
dams, named Xiluodu, Xiangjiaba, Wudongde, and Baihetan, on the Jinsha
River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia and
the third-longest in the world.

Part of the investment will be provided by equity trading, said Li Jing,
deputy director of the company's planning and development department.

He declined to disclose further details of the financing plan.

The total installed capacity of the four dams will be 43 million
kilowatts (kW), and is expected to be double that of the Three Gorges
Dam, the world's largest power station in terms of installed or
production capacity, according to the company.

The four hydroelectric stations will be able to supply 190 billion
kilowatt hours annually when the project is completed.

The production efficiency and environmental and geological impact of the
Three Gorges Dam have been the focus of intense discussion recently.
Some experts said the plant has severely polluted the local environment.

However, industry insiders argued that it is necessary for the country
to continue the development of hydroelectric stations.

"To increase water-power generation is still the priority for the power
industry," said Ouyang Changyu, deputy secretary-general of the China
Electric Council. "As long as the government can balance the
contradiction between the construction of hydropower stations and the
environment, it can develop hydropower production at a reasonable pace."

"It is impossible for the country to increase the non-fossil energy
share to 15 percent in the energy mix by the end of 2020 if it slows the
construction speed of hydroelectric stations," said Li. "In fact, the
unit cost of hydroelectricity is lower than coal-fired electricity if we
add the environmental cost into the calculation."

According to the company, the Xiangjiaba and Xiluodu hydropower stations
are likely to be operational within the next two years. The Xiangjiaba
hydropower station is scheduled to start running in 2012 with an
installed capacity of 6.4 million kW, followed by the Xiluodu station in
2013 with 13.68 million kW of installed capacity.

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