Yunnan's largest hydroelectric dam goes online
Sept 7 2012
The largest hydroelectric project on the Upper Mekong River Basin
officially began generating power yesterday. The Nuozhadu dam (糯扎渡水电站)
near Pu'er will be China's fourth largest hydropower plant when
finished in 2014, energy website RedNet is reporting.
The embankment dam rises 261.5 meters above the Mekong River, or
Lancang River (澜沧江) in Chinese. Construction on the dam is not
complete and only one of a planned nine 650 megawatt generators is
currently in operation.
When fully operational the power plant will produce an estimated
24,000 gigawatts of electricity annually. In practical terms, that is
enough energy to power New York City for seven months. Project
engineers at the power plant's September 6 opening ceremony said
energy generated by Nuozhadu will save more than nine million tons of
coal per year.
The 61 billion yuan (US$9.6 billion) project broke ground in 2004 and
is part of China's sprawling Western Development Strategy (西部大开发战略).
One of the key goals of this policy is to utilize the region's
numerous rivers for power production. Much of the electricity will be
sent to larger, more energy-hungry cities on the east coast. Some of
the power generated by the dam will be sold to Laos, Myanmar, and
The project broke ground in 2004 and the reservoir behind the dam
began filling last year. When completely full, the new Nuozhadu
reservoir will have a surface area of 320 square kilometers and hold
water equivalent to 11 Dianchi lakes.
Nearly 43,000 people must be relocated to make way for the slowly
filling lake. Those efforts began in 2011 and will continue through
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