The Three Gorges Project, China's massive multi-functional water control facility, cost 184.9 billion yuan (27.19 billion U.S. dollars) to build, which is within the budget, an official has said.
"The funds have been used efficiently," said Lu Chun, deputy head of the office of the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee under the State Council, or the Cabinet, while addressing a conference held Saturday in Chongqing. He didn't elaborate.
The project began in 1993 at the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest, designed to tame the unruly river and to fuel China's economic development with clean and cheap energy.
Its main works include a dam, a five-tier ship lock, and 26 of which are on the river banks and had all gone operational by October last year, with installed capacity totaling 18.2 million kw.
Plans were expanded further to include six more underground turbines by 2012, with a total capacity of 4.2 million kw. The first underground turbine will be operational in 2010.
Most of the major works have been finished. The project had generated 320.82 billion kw/hours of hydropower by late June, and sold 318.8 billion kwh of clean energy to state power grids which supply east, central, southern parts of the country.
According to Lu, 1.27 million people had been relocated by the end of June to make way for construction of the project, and the spending on arranging resettlement totalled 69.3 billion yuan.
An inspection panel, led by Chen Lei, minister of Water Resources, gave a license of approval for the project to store water to the designed level of 175 meters late last month, signaling the completion of the project.
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2009)