The Baihetan Hydroelectric Station on the upstream branch of China’s Yangtze River began generating electricity for the first time on June 28, 2021.
According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the project’s first two 1GW turbines have started up after a three-day trial period.
The project will eventually include 16 such units, bringing total production capacity only second only to the Three Gorges Dam once it is fully completed by July next year.
Built by the China Three Gorges Corporation, Baihetan is located on the border between the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
It is part of a waterfall of dams on the Jinsha River, the upstream part of the Yangtze.
The project is part of a national plan to generate and supply electricity to high-energy regions on the East Coast, and also aims to strengthen control over water flows during the harsh summer season. “
As a major project in China’s West-East power transmission program, Baihetan is the largest and most technically difficult hydropower project currently under construction in the world,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding that the project marked a breakthrough in the high manufacturing of terminal equipment.
An ultra-high voltage (UHV) electricity transmission line connecting Baihetan to Jiangsu Province has started construction in late 2020 and is expected to be commissioned in 2022.
Another UHV line from Baihetan to Zhejiang Province, also in eastern China, is awaiting Beijing approval.
Height of dam: 289m
Width at top: 13m
Width at base: 72m
16 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 1.0 GW
Height of each generator: 50m
Mass of each generator: 8,000t
Expected annual clean energy generated when fully operational: 62 TWh
Cost of dam: £25bn
Flood control capacity: 7.5 billion m3 Construction time: 4 years