New unit of China's Baihetan hydropower station starts commercial operation
Baihetan hydropower station in Yunnan Province, China, August 8, 2022. /CFP

Baihetan hydropower station in Yunnan Province, China, August 8, 2022. /CFP

A new power generation unit of Baihetan hydropower station in southwest China passed a 72-hour trial and started commercial operation on Monday. Half of all the power generation units of the mega project are now in commercial operation, according to China Media Group.

Built on the Jinsha River, the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, which runs through Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in southwestern China, the 16 gigawatt (GW) Baihetan hydropower facility is the world's second-largest power station after the 22.5 GW Three Gorges Dam.

The station has 16 of the world's largest hydropower generating units perched along the banks of Jinsha, each with an installed capacity of 1 gigawatt. The latest operational unit, Unit 13, is the 11th unit that's been put into operation.

The station can generate 62,400 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power all of Sichuan's capital Chengdu back in 2018, or electricity consumption of approximately 75 million people.

That amount of clean energy generated by Baihetan can save up to 19.68 million tonnes of standard coal, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 51.6 million tonnes.

Along with other power stations nearby, it helps form the world's largest new energy corridor. The other projects along Jinsha, the 13.86 GW Xiluodu Station, the 10.2 GW Wudongde Station and the 6.4 GW Xiangjiaba Station, bring the total capacity to more than twice the capacity of Three Gorges Dam.

Baihetan is also part of the country's "East Powered by the West" project – an effort to transmit electricity from the resource-rich west to energy-hungry regions in east China.

Search Trends