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Major generators of Three Gorges project run commercially
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The last turbine generator on the right bank of China's Three Gorges hydroelectric project was officially put into commercial operation on Thursday.

Technological workers check and test No. 15 turbine generating set on the right bank of the Three Gorges Project on October 29, 2008.

Technological workers check and test No. 15 turbine generating set on the right bank of the Three Gorges Project on October 29, 2008.  

That means so far, the originally designed 26 turbine generators, 14 on the left and 12 on the right, have all been commissioned commercially, one year ahead of schedule.

Combined, they will produce 84.7 billion kw of electricity annually, which would require 40 million to 50 million tonnes of coal consumption for a coal-fired station to produce.

"After more than ten years of efforts, the Three Gorges project has neared full completion," said Li Yong'an, general manager of Three Gorges Project Corporation.

The project has produced 274.4 billion kwh of electricity since July 2003, when the first generating unit began operation.

Launched in 1993, the project was expected to be finished by November 2009.

With a budget equivalent to US$22.5 billion, the project is also a water control system for the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest waterway. Its functions cover power generation, flood control and navigation.

Main works of the project also include a 185-meter-high dam and a five-tier ship lock.

Plans were expanded further to include six more underground turbines by 2012.

The electricity generated by the project supplies 15 provinces in central, eastern and southern China, easing a severe power shortage in industrial regions.

As of June, 1.24 million residents had been relocated to make way for the project.

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