Three Gorges Probe

Three Gorges generating units pass full generation capacity test


October 30, 2006

Fourteen generating units of the Three Gorges Project, the world’s largest hydropower plant, have passed a 72-hour full operating capacity test, an official in charge of the project said on Sunday.


Over a period of three days ending 9:00 a.m. Sunday, the 14 units generated 700,000 kw/hour of electricity without showing any signs of instability, said Li Yong’an, general manager of the China Three Gorges Project Corporation. Li said generator performance can only be tested thoroughly by putting them through a 72-hour full capacity test. This is the first time that China has independently operated such a big group of generating units.There are only 37 generating units with a capacity of 700,000 kw/hour in the entire world.

The water level in the Three Gorges Reservoir began to rise from the 135.5 meter mark on Sept. 20 and reached the 156 meter mark on Friday. According to the original design, a water level of 148 meters is required for full generation capacity. The 14 generating units underwent a one-day full generation capacity test on Oct. 18.

Since being commissioned in 2003, the units had been generating 550,000 kw/hour of electricity from the lower water level in the Three Gorges Reservoir, Li said, adding the successful test shows that generating units have coped well with the rising water level.

Currently, more than 1.2 million people, or over 85 percent of those covered by the original plan, have been relocated to make way for the gigantic project and rest will be resettled before the water level in the reservoir reaches 175 meters in 2008, one year earlier than scheduled.

Launched in 1993 and being built at an estimated cost of 180 billion yuan (about 22.5 billion U.S. dollars), the Three Gorges Project on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China’s longest, will eventually have 26 generators with a combined generating capacity of 18.2 million kw and be able to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually. The other 12 generating units are still under construction.

As of Sunday, the Three Gorges Project had generated over 138 billion khw of electricity.

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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