Three Gorges Probe

Chinese firms to build eight turbines for Three Gorges

(March 31, 2004) The company building the Three Gorges dam has signed purchase contracts with two Chinese firms and Alstom of France for the 12 hydropower generating units destined for the right-bank powerhouse of the Three Gorges dam.

“Unlike the 14 generators installed on the left bank of the dam, which were all produced by foreign companies, eight of the 12 [right-bank units]… went to two leading Chinese machinery manufacturers,” China Daily reported on Monday [March 29].

“This is the first time for domestic enterprises to independently design and produce 700,000 kilowatt generators, which marks a milestone in the history of China’s electric machinery production,” Three Gorges Project Corp. president Li Yongan was quoted as saying.

The Chinese firms – Harbin Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. and Dongfang Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. – will build four units each, while Alstom will also supply four. The two Chinese firms were subcontractors in the deals won by foreign manufacturers to build the 14 units for the left-bank powerhouse of the Three Gorges project.

The entire 12-unit contract for the right-bank section is worth 4.54 billion yuan, or US$546 million, China Daily reported. Alstom said its part of the deal, to supply four turbines and their associated generators, was worth more than 163 million euros ($198.5 million). The equipment is to be manufactured at Alstom’s facilities in France, Switzerland, Brazil and China, with delivery of the main components scheduled for 2006 and 2007, the company said in a press release.

Voith Siemens of Germany, part of a consortium with GE Canada and Sade Vigesa of Brazil that is supplying six of the left-bank units, had also bid for the right-bank contracts, but lost out to Alstom.

Mr. Li of the Three Gorges Project Corp. said: “Alstom’s model was the best in the experiment, and it had a competitive price, that’s why we chose it.”

(worth US$740 million)

* * *

At a glance: The 26 Three Gorges turbines

Left-bank powerhouse: 14 units

ABB Alstom (France) – 8 units and all of the computer-control systems in the left-bank powerhouse

GE Canada, Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation (Germany) and Sade Vigesa (Brazil) – 6 units (3 of which were built at GE Canada’s plant in Lachine, Que.)

Six of the left-bank generating units are already producing power, with the other eight due to become operational over the next two years.

Right-bank powerhouse: 12 units (worth a total of US$546 million)

Alstom (France) – 4 units
Harbin Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. (China) – 4 units

Dongfang Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. (China) – 4 units

The first four of these units are to go into operation in 2007.

Generating capacity

The Three Gorges dam is the largest in the world in terms of hydropower-generating capacity.

Capacity of each generating unit: 700 MW

Total installed capacity by 2009: 18,200 MW (700 MW x 26 units)

Power output

Three Gorges dam power output in 2003: 8.6 billion kilowatt hours

Projected power output this year: 50 billion kilowatt hours

Projected annual power output when project is completed in 2009: 84.7 billion kilowatt hours [Source: China Daily (March 29, 2004)]

Kelly Haggart, March 31, 2004

Related stories:

Xiaolangdi turbine trouble heightens Three Gorges concerns (March 2003)

Turbines could generate giant problems, official warns (April 2002)

Qian Zhengying’s speech to project officials (April 2002)

Li Peng raises concerns about Three Gorges turbines and river-traffic disruption (November 2001)

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Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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