Baihetan hydropower station set to be fully operational in milestone for China’s clean energy drive
Published: Dec 19, 2022 09:33 PM
Baihetan hydropower station Photo: Courtesy of China Three Gorges Corp

Baihetan hydropower station Photo: Courtesy of China Three Gorges Corp

With its No.9 generating unit entering final adjustment and operation, all units of the Baihetan hydropower station are set to be operational on Tuesday, a major step forward for the world's second-largest in terms of total installed capacity.

Baihetan will have a total installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts (kW). It is equipped with 16 hydro-generating units, each with a capacity of 1 million kw, the largest single-unit capacity in the world.

Located on the Jinsha River, the upper section of the Yangtze River in southwest China, the station straddles Southwest China's Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

Its single unit weighs more than 8,000 tons, and its hydraulic design, electromagnetic design, ventilation and cooling, and high-performance material research and development and application have all reached world-leading levels.

On June 28, 2021, the first batch of units of Baihetan went into operation to generate electricity. After more than a year, the main project has been fully completed, and the goal of water storage to 825 meters has been achieved on schedule, said Wang Zhilin, head of the construction department of the project.

After reaching full operation, the Baihetan hydropower station will be the world's second-largest of its kind after the Three Gorges Dam project in Central China's Hubei Province. The station can generate 62.4 billion kWh of clean electricity every year, avoiding the use of 19.68 million tons of standard coal and reducing emissions equivalent to 51.6 million tons of carbon dioxide. The station will be able to provide electricity for 75 million people.

So far, the units that have been put into operation are running smoothly and have excellent indicators. Since the first batch of units began to generate power, the station has produced more than 53 billion kW of clean electricity, which was mainly delivered to East China's Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, helping the integrated high-quality development of the Yangtze River Delta region, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by China Three Gorges Corp, the operator of the station.

Graphic: Xiong Xiaoying/GT

Graphic: Xiong Xiaoying/GT

The hydropower station, which transmits electricity from the resource-rich west to energy-consuming regions in east China, marks a major step forward in the country's utilization of clean energy.

There are six giant hydropower stations including Baihetan, Three Gorges and Gezhouba that were built and operated by Three Gorges Corp on the main stream of the Yangtze River, having installed a total of 110 hydropower units with a total installed capacity of 71.695 million kW, forming the world's largest clean energy corridor.

Spanning 1,800 kilometers, the corridor formed reservoirs and strategic freshwater resource pools with a total storage capacity of 91.9 billion cubic meters, of which the flood control storage capacity is 37.6 billion cubic meters.

This accounts for more than 53 percent of the total flood control storage capacity of reservoirs in the Yangtze River Basin in 2022, which is of great significance to guarantee flood control, power generation, shipping, water resource utilization and ecological security in the Yangtze River Basin.