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Hydropower Station

  • Xiaowan hydroelectric power station--Yunnan
Xiaowan hydroelectric power station--Yunnan

Xiaowan hydroelectric power station--Yunnan

  • Description: Xiaowan hydroelectric power station, second in size in China only to the Three Gorges Power Project, then announced to start the construction of a 292-meter-high, concrete hyperbolic arch dam, the hig
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Xiaowan hydroelectric power station, second in size in China only to the Three Gorges Power Project, then announced to start the construction of a 292-meter-high, concrete hyperbolic arch dam, the highest of the world.

The Xiaowan Hydroelectric Power Station is an essential part of China's strategy of transmitting electricity from resources- abundant western areas to power-short Shanghai Municipality, Guangdong, Jiangsu and other eastern provinces.

The hydropower station is being built on the middle reaches of the turbulent Lancang River, the fifth longest in China. Xiaowan Station, whose construction began in early 2002, will have six generating units with a designed capacity of 4.2 million kilowatts.

The cost of the Xiaowan hydropower station is estimated at 32 billion yuan (nearly 3.9 billion US dollars), the largest sum spent on a project of this kind in Yunnan province in the past 50 years.

The first generating unit of the project is expected to go into operation in late 2010, and the last one will be finished three years later. By then, its annual power output will be 18.9 billion kwh, half of which will be sent to Guangdong and other provinces in coastal areas.

The major feature of the hydropower station is a concrete hyperbolic arch dam that towers 292 meters high, which is equivalent to the height of a 100-story skyscraper.

The dam, believed to be the highest dam on earth, will form a reservoir with a storage capacity of 15 billion cubic meters after it is completed. This is equal to the combined amount of all reservoirs in Yunnan. The hydropower station will also perform other functions such as flood control, irrigation, sand retention and navigation.

As the construction of Xiaowan station faces many knotty technical problems, China launched cooperation schemes with prestigious experts from the United States, Norway, Russia and France during the construction process.

China's hydroelectric experts said the establishment of the Xiaowan station would turn the international Lancang-Mekong River into a "golden watercourse" and benefit all countries along the river.

Lancang River, which rises in the Tanggula Mountains on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, flows for a total of 4,500 kilometers from Tibet to Xishuang Banna in Yunnan Province, joins the Mekong River, and then flows into Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries.

Currently, China is building six hydroelectric hydropower stations on the middle and lower reaches of the Lancang River in addition to the Manwan and Dachaoshan hydropower stations. The combined installed capacity of the eight power stations will amount to 15.55 million kw, upon their completion.

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