China starts first unit of Three Gorges right bank plant

The first unit of the right bank powerhouse of the 18,200-MW Three Gorges Dam began operation June 11, Chinese officials said.

State news service Xinhua reported 700-MW Unit 22 began producing electricity for the grid at 9:12 a.m. after a 72-hour trial. All 14 units of the left bank plant began operation in September 2005. (HNN 5/22/07)

No. 22 is the first of 12 units in the right bank powerhouse. No. 26 is undergoing final pre-operation checks. All 12 are to be operating by the end of 2008, a year ahead of schedule.

Additionally, work has begun on installation of six more units in an underground powerhouse, which eventually will boost total capacity to 22,400 MW in 2010.

China Three Gorges Project Corp., operator of the project, had invested 131.3 billion renminbi (US$17 billion) by the end of 2006 and planned to keep the total cost within 180 billion renminbi (US$23 billion), lower than the earlier reported US$25 billion.

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