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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hydropower stations dot Yangtze River

China continues to build hydropower stations along the upper stream of Yangtze River. After the start of Xiluodu project last year, the construction of the 6-million kw Xiangjiaba hydropower station began this Sunday. Xiluodu station will have 12.6 million kilowatts of capacity.

The section of the Yangtze between Yushu in Qinghai Province and Yibin in Sichuan Province is often called the Jinsha River in China, which means the "Golden Sand River". The China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation has plans to build 22 more hydropower stations on the Yangtze, including two more -- Baihetan and Wudongde hydropower stations -- on the lower reaches of the Jinsha River section.

The feasibility study for the 12 million kw Baihetan hydropower station has been completed and approved by experts. Work has also started on a feasibility study for the Wudongde hydropower station that will have 7 million KW capacity. The construction of these two dams will begin in 2009 and will be finished in 2020.

The above four hydropower stations will have a combined capacity of 38.5 million kw upon completion, but the potential hydroelectric capacity of this 2,300-km section of the Yangtze is estimated at 112 million kw.

The cost of Xiangjiaba hydropower station will reach 43.4 billion yuan (about 5.43 billion U.S. dollars), it will be completed in 2015 and will be able to generate 30.7 billion kw/hour of electricity a year.

Statistics provided by the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources show that Chinese rivers could generate 540 million kw of hydroelectric power capacity. Currently, only one fifth of the total is being exploited, as compared with three fifths in developed nations.

The complete report can be accessed at here.

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