The world’s second biggest power station, the Baihetan hydropower project is a 16GW hydroelectric facility on the Jinsha River, which is a tributary of the Yangtze River in south-west China. The massive project extends over the Ningnan county in the Sichuan province and the Qiaojia county in the Yunnan province.
The Baihetan project is being developed by Jinsha River Chuanyun Hydropower Development Company, which is a joint venture between China Three Gorges (CTG) Corporation (70%), Sichuan Energy Investment Group (15%), and Yunnan Energy Investment Group (15%). Scheduled for commissioning in 2022, Baihetan will be one of the first projects to use a 1,000MW hydro-turbine generator. When China’s newest hydropower plant is completed in July, it will produce 16 times the energy of the Hoover Dam in the United States. Standing nearly 300 metres (985 feet) tall, and made with more than 8 million cubic metres of concrete, the Baihetan dam towers over Jinshajiang – the “River of Golden Sand” – as the upper section of the Yangtze River is known. It will power homes, office buildings and factories as far away as Jiangsu, a coastal province more than 2,000km (1,240 miles) to the east.
The 170 billion yuan (US$26.1 billion) dam will start generating electricity on July 1, when the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its centenary. It will be able to produce more than 62 terawatt hours of electricity a year and reduce carbon dioxide emission by 52 million tonnes, helping the country meet its carbon neutralisation target by the middle of this century.