China commissions 4,200-MW Laxiwa hydropower station

China connected the first two units of the six-unit, 4,200-MW Laxiwa hydropower station to the electricity grid on May 18, 2009.

Government news agency Xinhua reported the two units were connected to the grid following eight years of construction on the project, on the upper reaches of the Yellow River in the northwestern Qinghai Province. The other four generators of Laxiwa will start running before the end of 2010, the news agency said.

Laxiwa features the largest installed capacity, tallest dam, and highest outgoing voltage of all hydroelectric stations on the main stream of the Yellow River, China’s second longest river.

The project, which features a 250-meter-tall concrete arch dam, is expected to serve as a major source of power for the development of China’s west and for a national West-East transmission project. By the end of 2010, the total installed capacity of all hydropower stations on the upper stream of the Yellow River will exceed 10 GW, as several other major hydro projects also will have been completed.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission ratified Laxiwa in December 2005. Being developed by China Power’s Yellow River Hydropower Development Co. Ltd., Laxiwa required an investment of 15 billion renminbi (US$2.2 billion).

Project sponsor China Power Investment Corp. said the six 700-MW Francis turbine-generators would generate 10.2 terawatt-hours annually upon completion. Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation received a 65 million euro (US$90 million) contract to supply turbines in 2004.

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