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Chinese hydro moves up a gear on the Yangtze river

Construction of the 11GW Xiloudu hydro station will start in 1998 on the Jinsha river, on the upper reaches of the Yangtze in China. The plant, designed to generate 52,600GWh of electricity a year, will cost 40B yuan to construct. Described as one of the largest hydro plants on the Yangtze, Xiluodu will save the equivalent of 24Mt of coal each year.

Other developments concerning the development of hydro power on the Yangtze involve the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee. Reports state the Committee has completed preparations for feasibility studies for construction of the 6GW Xiangjiaba hydro power plant. There is also a proposal to construct a 10GW plant at Baihetan, upstream from Xiluodu.

Furthermore, the Yunnan Provincial Hydro Power Bureau has shown interest in constructing a hydroelectric plant at Tiger Jumping Gorge on the upper reaches of the Yangtze in Liajiang county, Yunnan province. The plant, if constructed, would have a capacity of 7GW. Preparations are also being carried out by the Yunnan provincial government for construction of the 2.5GW Jin’anqiao plant, downstream of Tiger Jumping Gorge.

The Yangtze river has become one of China’s most important centres of hydro activity. Its exploitable hydroelectric resources total 197GW, of which 89GW is located on its upper reaches. To date, 23,000 small hydroelectric power plants are said to have been constructed on such tributaries. Those tributaries which are proving to be attractive for the development of hydro power include the Minjiang and Yalongjiang rivers in Sichuan province, the Wuijang river in Guizhou province and the Hanjiang river in Hubei.