Hydropower is seen as an effective way to enable China to achieve its goal of becoming “carbon neutral by 2060.” Beijing has pledged to accelerate work on hydroelectric projects in the country as part of its five-year plan for economic and social development until 2025. Afterwards, the “Three Gorges” dam on the Yangzi Jiang, located in Hubei province, entered into operation in 2012; Beijing put the Baihetan hydroelectric plant into service on Monday. China now owns the two largest hydroelectric plants in the world.
An all-Chinese structure of $ 34 billion
On Monday, President Xi Jinping conveyed his congratulations to China’s national broadcaster shortly after the generators entered service. “The Baihetan hydroelectric power station (…) is the largest hydroelectric project in the world and technically the most difficult ever carried out. This represents a breakthrough in the manufacturing of high-end equipment in China with its gigawatt production units, which are the world’s first, ”said Xi Jinping.
Baihetan is one of four Chinese hydroelectric projects in operation or under development with an installed capacity of more than 10 GW. The four projects, all located on the Jinsha River, will have a combined installed capacity of approximately 46 GW and an annual generation capacity of 190 TWh. The Baihetan hydroelectric power station, at full power, is expected to generate 16 Gigawatts or 60 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electricity, while offsetting 52 million tons (Mt) of CO2 emissions per year. The China Three Gorges Corporation is building a project that cost 220 billion yuan about 34 billion dollars.
This Chinese structure is the same that manages the 22.5 GW “Three Gorges” dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. The second place in the ranking of the largest dams was held by the Itaipú hydroelectric plant in Brazil and Paraguay, which has a capacity of 14 GW. A place now enchanted by the Baihetan Power Station.