The first fourteen power turbines on the Three Gorges Dam are ready to generate electricity, a local official said Thursday, marking the dawn of an exciting new time for the project.
The turbines are capable of generating power at full capacity once the water level in the Three Gorges reservoir reaches the 148-meter mark, as it did on Monday, said Ma Zhenbo, director of the Three Gorges Power Plant in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province.
The water level is currently being raised from 135.5 to 156 meters, and it reached 152.43 meters on Thursday.
September 20th marked the beginning of the undertaking's new phase when one of 14 power-producing generators was shut down to reduce downstream water-flow.
The upstream flow into the Three Gorges reservoir stands at a rate of 16,300 cubic meters per second, satisfying demands for all power-generating 14 turbines, Ma said, adding that no power turbines had shown any abnormal signs since the water storage began.
All the turbines started operation at 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon, preparing for instructions from superior authorities to generate power at full load, he said.
Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including a 2,309-meter-long, 185-meter-high dam with 26 power generators, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river. The gigantic project is expected to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually when it is finally completed in 2009.
(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2006)