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The Russian hydropower company RusHydro and China Three Gorges Corp. have signed a deal to cooperate on a 320-megawatt hydroelectric power project in Russia’s Far East.
Under the pact, signed in Moscow on May 8, the two government-owned corporations agreed to work together to operate the hydroelectric plant on the Russian side of the Bureya River, a tributary of Russia’s Amur River, according to a statement issued the following day by Beijing-based China Three Gorges Corp. The Bureya runs near the border between Russia and China.
RusHydro, based in Krasnoyarsk, began construction of the Nizhne-Bureyskaya plant in 2010. By the beginning of 2015, crews had poured fully 60 percent of the concrete in the plant’s main facilities and had begun installing fittings for turbines and floodgates. The damming of the Bureya River is scheduled for March 2016.
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The Nizhne-Bureyskaya plant is designed to generate 1.65 trillion watts of electrical energy per year. It will also regulate overflows from the generator to limit flooding of nearby population centers. China Three Gorges and RusHydro will also explore building other flood-control hydropower plants on the Amur River.
The two companies still need to conduct an economic analysis, but they plan on forming a joint venture to complete and eventually operate the facility.
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Evgeny Dod, the general director and chairman of RusHydro, said at the signing of the initial agreement, “[t]he document … is an important landmark in the comprehensive action plan we are realizing to strengthen cooperation with our Chinese partners and attracting Chinese investments into the Russian economy.”
Wang Lin, the president of China Three Gorges, agreed, saying, “As the largest hydropower enterprises in China and Russia, the positive progress we achieved on the project will strengthen the cooperation in hydropower development between the two countries, reinforce the Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership, and bring benefits to the people in the river valley in both countries.”
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Lin was in Moscow to meet with Dod because he accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping at ceremonies with Russian President Vladimir Putin marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, ending World War II.
When Dod and Lin spoke of increased energy cooperation between their two countries, they could only have been referring to the preliminary deal between Xi and Putin in November under which the state-run Russian gas company Gazprom would eventually supply nearly one-fifth of the gas China is expected to need beginning in 2020.
That deal is nearly as large as the $400 billion agreement reached earlier in 2014 in which Gazprom would supply up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year from western Siberia to China over the next three decades.
By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com
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Andy Tully is a veteran news reporter who is now the news editor for Oilprice.com