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China Starts Up Second-Biggest Hydropower Dam In The World

China has launched power generation from the first operational units at a massive new hydropower dam, which is the world’s second-largest after the Three Gorges dam, again in China, The Associated Press reported.

Despite environmentalists criticizing China for putting up massive dams on the Yangtze River and its tributaries, Chinese authorities proceed with hydropower construction as they seek to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity generation in the country.

The Baihetan Dam, built by the Chinese Three Gorges Corporation, will be the second-largest hydropower generating facility in the world with 16 gigawatts (GW) once all its 16 units are completed in the middle of next year. The largest hydropower project is the Three Gorges which has a capacity of 22.5 GW.

Earlier this month, another massive hydropower project became fully operational in China, the Wudongde hydropower plant on the Yangtze River. The 12-generator plant costs close to $19 billion to build and has an installed capacity of 10.2 GW. It first started generating electricity last year, but now all its generators have been put online so it is fully operational.

According to a China Central Television report cited by Global Times, the Wudongde hydropower plant would have the capacity to produce 38.91 billion kWh annually at full capacity. This will be the equivalent of saving some 12.2 million tons of standard coal and eliminating 30.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

China is the world’s leader in hydropower capacity, with a total of 1.302 terawatt-hours as of 2019. Canada is a distant second with 398 TWh. As befits the global leader, China is home to four of the world’s largest hydropower plants, including the massive Three Gorges dam and Xiluodu, with a capacity of 13.86 GW.   

China has stated it wants to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2060.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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