World's 2nd largest hydropower station to use Chinese turbines

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The world's second largest hydropower station, Baihetan, in southwest China, will use Chinese turbines.

Baihetan is on the Jinsha River, the upper section of the Yangtze, straddling Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

With an installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts, the dam is expected to generate more than 60 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, equal to about two-thirds of Beijing's consumption in 2015.

It will have 16 turbines, each with a capacity of a million kilowatts, said Tu Yangwen, director of an equipment installing team of the China Three Gorges Corporation, the Baihetan project owner.

This equipment was developed and made by Chinese companies. "Making million kilowatt level turbines is no easy task," said Tu.

Before 1994, when work began on the Three Gorges project, Chinese companies could not build a 350,000 kilowatt turbine.

"In cooperation with overseas hydropower equipment builders, China began to work on its own equipment," said Tu, recalling construction of the Three Gorges project.

The Three Gorges project has 32 sets of 700,000-kilowatt generators.

When Baihetan was approved in 2006, development work on the generators began.

The plant will go fully operational by the end of 2022.

"China's turbines are as good as any made by overseas companies. Our hydropower equipment has made great strides to become a strong competitor in the international marketplace," said Zhang Chengping, director of mechanical and electrical engineering at the corporation.

Baihetan, one of four hydropower stations in the lower reaches of the Jinsha River, is downstream of the Wudongde plant that is under construction. Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba stations have gone into operation.

With a combined installed capacity of more than 46 million kilowatts, the four dams can generate 190 billion kilowatt hours each year, double that of the Three Gorges, the world's largest hydropower project.

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