Thursday, July 5, 2012

China declares Three Gorges hydro project complete

China declares Three Gorges hydro project complete
July 4 2012
By David Stanway; editing by Anthony Barker and Keiron Henderson

Beijing - The final turbine of China's massive Three Gorges Dam was
connected to the grid on Wednesday, marking the completion of a
controversial hydropower project that cost the country more than $50
billion and displaced at least 1.3 million people.

The installation of the project's 32nd 700-megawatt unit brought total
capacity up to 22.5 gigawatts (GW), accounting for 11 percent of the
country's total hydroelectric capacity.

"The complete operation of all the generators makes the Three Gorges Dam
the world's largest hydropower project, and the largest base for clean
energy," China Radio International quoted Zhang Cheng, general manager
of the project's operator, China Yangtze Power Co. Ltd., as saying at a

The construction of the world's biggest hydropower plant began in 1994
and its first generating unit was connected to the grid in July 2003.
Official news agency Xinhua said it has already generated a total of
564.8 billion kilowatt-hours, saving nearly 200 million tonnes of coal a

But the project, located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze river,
cost a total of 254 billion yuan ($39.99 billion), four times the
original estimate, and another 123.8 billion yuan has been spent on
"follow-up work".

The project's 185-metre dam and 600-km reservoir have forced the
relocation of at least 1.3 million residents, and the government has
acknowledged that earthquake and landslide risks have also increased in
the region.

Hydropower construction slowed after building work on the dam was
completed in 2006, with several large-scale projects vetoed because of
the soaring costs of handling displaced people and protecting the

But Beijing is now committed to bringing another 140 GW of hydropower
capacity on line between 2011 and 2015 to meet its renewable energy

($1 = 6.3523 yuan)

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