China to Spend $17 Billion on Six New Hydro Plants
The six single-generator plants would each have capacity of less than 600 megawatts and would be located on the river's upper reaches in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the newspaper quoted an official with State Development & Investment Corp. as saying.
The plants were part of China's plan to more than double its hydropower capacity to 246 gigawatts by 2020, which would account for about 26 percent of the country's anticipated energy needs, the newspaper said.
"In order to clean skies clouded by smog from coal-fired power stations and meet the country's surging demand for power, China is vigorously pushing hydro-power generation in resource-rich areas," it said.
One plant had already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning body, and would begin operation by 2012, said the official, who was not identified.
There was no timetable for the construction of the other plants, which would be financed by equity capital and bank loans, the official said.
The plants are dwarfed by the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, which has 14 700-megawatt generators.
China's racing economy has strained the country's electrical grid, with power demand jumping an annual 13.4 percent in the first eight months of the year.
The country, the world's second-biggest electricity consumer, expects an electricity shortfall of about 30 gigawatts in 2005, down from 40 gigawatts last year.