China Commissions 13.9-GW Hydropower Project

Commissioning of all 18 generating units at China’s 13.9-GW Xiluodu Hydropower Station has been completed, making it the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project (Figure 5), China Three Gorges Corp. announced in early July.

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5. Hydropower giant. Commissioning of all 18 generating units at China’s 13.9-GW Xiluodu Hydropower Station has been completed, making it the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project after the Three Gorges and Brazilian Itaipu complexes. This image is an aerial view of the dam during construction. Courtesy: China Three Gorges Corp. 

The massive $6.2 billion project is situated on the Jinsha River, a major headstream of the Yangtze River, in southwest Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. It is China’s second largest after the 22.5-GW Three Gorges Dam and consists of a 278-meter-tall concrete double-curvature arch dam with a crest elevation of 610 m and a crest length of 700 m. Two large underground power houses are inside the left and right banks, each with nine 770-MW Francis turbine units. The station can reportedly generate 57.1 billion kWh a year.

Construction of the project began in December 2005, and it began generating power in July 2013. Meanwhile, work continues on three other large projects on the Jinsha River cascade, including at the 6.4-GW Xiangjiaba dam, which should be fully operational by July 2015.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)