Mekong Utility Watch

Tibet’s biggest hydropower project to go into operation


December 6, 2000

Lhasa: The first generating unit in a 100,000-kw hydropower project in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to go in operation and go on stream late this year. Luo Zhongjun, deputy commander-in-chief for the Straight Pass hydropower plant being built on the Lhasa River, said the hydropower project is the biggest in Tibet. Although Luo says it is a major accomplishment for Tibet, he says, it doesn’t compare with the huge power projects in the economically developed eastern parts of the country. The hydropower plant, with four generating units, each with a capacity of 25,000 kw, started construction in May 2003. The project has 80 percent of its 1.34 billion yuan (about 165 million U.S. dollars) investment from state coffers. Apart from to power generation, the hydropower project will also have a role of play in flood control and irrigation. The Lhasa River, which originates in the southern foot of the towering Nyainqentanglha Range, flows through the eastern suburbs of Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Regina and then joins the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which is also known as Brahmaputra as it flows out of China. According to a survey of potential hydropower resources across China, Tibet could turned out 110 million kw of hydropower and is second only to Sichuan in view of unexploited energy making potential. So far, hydropower facilities with a total installed capacity of 500,000 kw have been built across rivers in Tibet.

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