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China building US$315-mln hydropower station in Pamirs
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China is building a 315-million-U.S.-dollar hydropower station in the Pamirs to improve irrigation, power generation and flood control in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The project, whose construction began Tuesday at 3,300 meters above sea level, will be the first and largest of planned five hydropower stations along the Gez River in the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu, said Hou Daiping, vice president of the Guangxi Water Resources and Electric Power Group Co., Ltd.

The total investment will be 2.2 billion yuan, according to Hou.

"It will consist of three power generating units with an installed capacity of 200 megawatts," said Hou, whose company -- based in Nanning of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region -- is the lead contractor.

Upon completion in 2012, the project is forecast to generate 673 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, said Hou.

The other four stations will be completed within six years to increase the annual output to 2.27 billion kw/hrs, he added.

"They will ease the power supply bottleneck in Kizilsu and neighboring Kashi Prefecture," said Yan Fenxin, a top official in Kizilsu Prefecture.

He said the new stations would exploit the Gez River more efficiently, ensure irrigation of nearly 100,000 hectares of cropland and forests and reduce flood risks in the lower reaches of the river.

Kizilsu Prefecture borders Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and is a major water source for Xinjiang.

Its seven rivers, with a combined annual water flow of 14 billion cubic meters, can provide at least 5 million kilowatts of electricity a year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2009)

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