China’s controversial Three Gorges dam now online, world’s largest hydro project
The final turbine of China’s massive Three Gorges dam has been connected to the power grid, marking the completion of a controversial hydropower project that cost the country more than £38bn and displaced at least 1.3 million people.
The installation of the project’s 32nd 700-megawatt unit on Wednesday brought total capacity up to 22.5 gigawatts (GW), accounting for 11% of the country’s total hydroelectric capacity. Britain’s largest power station, Drax, produces 4GW.
“The complete operation of all the generators makes the Three Gorges dam the world’s largest hydropower project, and the largest base for clean energy,” Zhang Cheng, general manager of the project’s operator, China Yangtze Power, told a ceremony.
The construction of the world’s biggest hydropower plant began in 1994 and its first generating unit was connected to the grid in July 2003.
The official state news agency Xinhua said the dam had already generated a total of 564.8bn kilowatt-hours, saving nearly 200m tonnes of coal a year.
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