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Giant hydropower plant fully operational
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The last generator of China's Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River went online yesterday, meaning that the world's largest hydropower plant has become fully operational.

Launched in 1993, the project's original plan called for the 26 generators to produce 84.7 billion kWh of electricity annually after its completion.

This was later expanded to include six more turbines installed underground by 2012 to reach a capacity of 22,500 MW.

The project, operated by China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) at a total cost of 180 billion yuan, now provides a total installed capacity of 18,200 MW with 26 generators, each with an installed capacity of 700 MW.

The electricity generated by the project fuels 15 provinces in central, eastern and southern China, easing power shortages in industrial regions.

China is increasingly turning to hydropower as a clean, alternative solution to its growing energy demand.

Hydropower is expected to account for 28 percent of the country's total power generation by 2015, up from the current 20 percent, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

"The Three Gorges Project indicates how far China has progressed in renewable energy, being the leader in the hydroelectric field in terms of unit design, manufacturing, installation and operation," said Lin Chuxue, vice-president of CTGPC.

China now has a total installed hydropower capacity of 145 million kW.

(China Daily October 30, 2008)

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