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China Starts Construction of World's Second Largest Hydropower Plant

© AP Photo / Andy WongChinese national flag. (File)
Chinese national flag. (File) - Sputnik International
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The construction of the world's second largest hydropower plant, dubbed the Baihetan project, was launched on Thursday on the Jinsha River in China's southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, Chinese media reported.

People walk past the US State Department building July 6, 2011 in Washington, DC - Sputnik International
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BEIJING (Sputnik) — It is expected that the Baihetan project will be finished by 2022, with its generating capacity expected to be at 16,000 megawatts, or 60.24 terrawatt-hours annually. This amount of energy is enough to provide for two-thirds of 21.5-million population of Beijing every year, Xinhua said.

The facility will generate power by utilizing sixteen 1,000-megawatt hydroturbines. Over 100,000 of residents will have to be relocated to clear the site for the construction of the plant.

Chinese media added that the Baihetan project will become the fourth hydroenergy facility in the lower course of the Junsha River, their capacity combined adding up to 46,000 megawatts. This figure would exceed that of the Three Gorges world's largest hydropower plant with installed capacity of 22,500 megawatts, also located in China.

The Baihetan plant will help alleviate the Chinese energy sector's toll on the environment, reducing the country's annual carbon dioxide emissions by dozens of millions of metric tons.

Lately, Beijing has been focusing on the development of a massive hydropower facilities network within the program on ensuring China's energy independence. Currently, hydropower is one of the country's largest energy sources, second only to the coal industry.

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