SOURCE / ECONOMY
40th anniversary of Gezhouba Dam starts operating: the first large hydropower hub on Yangtze River shines with "high reliability, long life and zero defects"
Published: Jul 31, 2021 01:54 AM
A view of Gezhouba Dam. Photo: Wang Xubo

A view of Gezhouba Dam. Photo: Wang Xubo

The Gezhouba Dam, the world's largest run-of-river hydropower station and the first large-scale water control project on the main artery of the Yangtze River, celebrated the 40th anniversary of its commissioning for power generation on Friday, with producing nearly 600 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Engineers and experts said that as one of the most important water conservation projects in China, Gezhouba Dam is a monument of the times in the history of Chinese hydropower construction, reflecting China's strong organizational and mobilizational capabilities. Its 40-year "high reliability, long life, zero defects" operation has made an important contribution to China's economic and social development.

Located in Yichang, Central China's Hubei Province, which is the dividing point between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Gezhouba Dam is the largest water conservancy project independently designed, constructed, installed and operated by China in the 20th century. 

The construction of Gezhouba Dam was approved by Chairman Mao Zedong, and Premier Zhou Enlai personally organized the demonstration and drafted the report, said Lu Zhaoce, the first chief engineer of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant, adding that from the start of construction in 1970 to the commissioning of the first generator unit in 1981, to the completion of the whole project in December 1988, more than 100,000 hydropower specialists from all over the country, who set up base in the wilderness, carrying poles and pushing carts to overcame a series of significant technical problems in 18 years, finally completed all the construction tasks with their blood and sweat.

"In 40 years, Gezhouba Dam has witnessed China move from isolation to openness and prosperity, and Gezhouba's builders have also not stood still, we are constantly innovating our technology to maintain our leading position in the industry while ensuring safe operations, becoming an important project for the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt," Xiang Ke, deputy director of the Gezhouba Hydropower Plant, told the Global Times on Friday.

The total length of Gezhouba Dam is 2606.5 meters, the maximum dam height is 53.8 meters, its reservoir capacity is 1.58 billion cubic meters, with comprehensive function of power generation, flood control and navigation. Currently, the annual one-way passage capacity of the Dam's lock can reach 50 million tons, the maximum flood discharge of the hub can reach 110,000 cubic meters per second.

 
A view of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant. Photo: Lin Xiaoyi/ GT

A view of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant. Photo: Lin Xiaoyi/ GT

Since its completion, Gezhouba Dam has safely released more than 60 floods equating to 45,000 cubic meters per second on the Yangtze River, effectively reducing the pressure of downstream flood control operations and helping to protect the lives and property of people in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze.

At the same time, Gezhouba Hydropower Plant has an installed capacity of 2.735 million kilowatts and generates an average of 16 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. As of Friday, the Gezhouba Hydropower Plant had produced nearly 600 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to 184 million tons of standard coal, 503 million tons of carbon dioxide and about 11,400 tons of sulfur dioxide.

"The successful construction and management of Gezhouba Dam has provided valuable experience and played a role in fostering talent  for the design, construction and operation of the Three Gorges Project and other super dams. Practice has proved that the Chinese are capable of building and managing large water projects on the Yangtze River," Xiang said.

Xiang pointed out that the currently Gezhouba Hydropower Plant is advancing innovation and development, accelerating digital transformation, deepening the transformation and application of robots, holographic monitoring system and other scientific research methods.

"A new chapter of hydropower development for the Chinese people begins with Gezhouba Dam, we will continue our efforts to contribute to a brighter future in this field," he added.


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