Recently, China operationalized world’s second biggest hydropower dam
About Baihetan Dam
- Two units of the giant Baihetan hydropower plant, said to be the largest one under construction globally, on the Yangtze river in southwest China generated electricity for the first time recently
- According to the government of China, the project’s first two 1-gigawatt (GW) turbines will go into formal operation after a three-day trial.
- The Baihetan Dam on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze river, the longest in Asia.
- The Baihetan is located on the border between the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
- Dam is part of Chinese efforts to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity at a time when dams have fallen out of favor in other countries due to environmental complaints.
- Plans call for the 289-meter-tall (954-foot-tall) Baihetan Dam to have 16 generating units with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts each.
- That will make it second in size after the Three Gorges Dam, opened in 2003 on the Yangtze, with 22.5 million kilowatts of generating capacity.
- The trial operation is limited to generators 1 and 14 while the remaining 14 generators of the hydropower station are expected to be put into use by July 2022.
- Both were built by the state-owned Three Gorges Group Corp., the world’s biggest investor in hydro, solar and wind generation.
- China is a leader in developing ultra-high-voltage, or UHV, transmission technology to move power from dams in the southwest to Shanghai and other eastern cities.
- The dam has been operationalised in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1.
- Earlier this month, all 12 units of the Wudongde hydropower station, the world’s seventh-largest, on Jinsha river near the Yunnan and Sichuan border were also operationalised.
- With a total installed capacity of 10.2 million kilowatts, the Wudongde hydropower station is a key project in China’s west-east power transmission programme.
- Environmental groups have criticised the large-scale damming of the Yangtze and its tributaries because of concerns the over-engineering of the river has destroyed major habitats and damaged natural flood plains.
Three Gorges Dam
It is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province.
The Three Gorges Dam has been the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012.
The dam body was completed in 2006. The power plant of the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012.
As well as producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity.