The construction of what has been described as China's third largest hydropower project is scheduled to start on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River on Sunday, project sources said Thursday.
With a designed installed capacity of 6 million kilowatts the Xiangjiaba Hydropower Project will be built on the lower reaches of the Jinshajiang River. It's a major tributary of the Yangtze which is the longest waterway in the country, said sources at project headquarters.
According to the plan approximately 88,900 people from three counties of Yunnan Province and three of Sichuan Province will be resettled to make way for the 28.9 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) project.
The scheme will be capable of generating 30.747 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually when completed in 2015.
The Xiangjiaba project is one of a series of hydropower plants China plans to build on the Jinshajiang River in the southwest to supply electricity to its economically more developed coastal regions and boost the resource-rich but poor western area.
Construction of the Xiluodu Hydropower Station, the first such project on the Jinsha River, started last December and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The Xiluodu project is designed to generate 12.6 million kilowatts of electricity annually. This is next only to the Three Gorges Project, the largest in the world, which is being built on the Yangtze.
The Xiangjiaba and Xiluodu hydropower projects would assist reduce silt problems in the Three Gorges Reservoir, said Zhou Shuangchao, a media center official with the Yangtze River Three Gorges Corporation. They are responsible for these projects. The structures would play a role in flood control, irrigation and navigation on completion, Zhou said.
The Jinshajiang River which is 2,290 kilometers in length originates in Tanggula Range and flows through Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, and Sichuan.
Water is mostly stored in the river's middle and lower reaches where China plans to build 12 hydropower stations to share a 59.08- million-kilowatts installed capacity.
Besides the Xiangjiaba and Xiluodu projects the government has also allocated funds for preliminary preparations on the Hutiaoxia (Tiger Jumping Gorge) plant in Yunnan while another at Baihetan is also being considered.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2006)