China’s highest-altitude mega hydropower station is fully operational

China’s highest-altitude mega hydropower station, Lianghekou plant, went fully operational on 18 March 2022 in Sichuan Province, contributing significantly to the development of clean energy as well as setting nine world records in hydropower station construction. The project is being developed by Yalong River Basin Hydropower Development Company with a total estimated investment of $10.8 billion USD.

Built at an average altitude about 3,000 meters with a total installed capacity of 3 MW (3 million kilowatts), the Lianghekou hydropower plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric facility and the seventh largest power station located in the Yalong River basin in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan in southwest China.

Lianghekou hydropower plant on the Yalong River in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, southwest China’s Sichuan Province. This mega hydropower plant built at an average altitude of 3,000 meters, the highest one of its kind in China, has a total installed capacity of 3 MW. (Xinhua)

With the 295-meter-high dam, the total capacity of the plant’s reservoir is 10.8 billion cubic meters. It is the only multi-year regulating reservoir among the cascade hydropower stations in the Yalong River basin and the largest one of its kind in Sichuan.

“The Lianghekou hydropower plant is the supporting power source of the 1,000-kilovolt ultra-high voltage alternating current transmission project in Sichuan and Chongqing, featuring remarkable multi-year regulating performance and strong compensatory adjustment ability. It joins the Jinping-I and Ertan hydropower stations built on the main stream of Yalong River to form three large regulating reservoirs with a total water regulating capacity of 14.8 billion cubic meters, which is equivalent to the water volume of more than 1,000 West Lakes in Hangzhou, making Yalong River a large river with the best regulating capacity in China,” said Qi Ningchun, director of the Yalong River Hydropower Development Company.

Through compensatory regulation, the fully operational Lianghekou plant now can increase the annual power generation by about 34.2 billion kilowatt-hour for hydropower stations on the Yangtze River and its tributaries including middle and lower reaches of the Yalong River and lower reaches of the Jinsha River during dry seasons, which is three times the power output of the Lianghekou plant itself.

In addition to hydropower, the Lianghekou plant will also promote the coordinated development of clean energy including water, wind and solar in the Yalong River basin. The total scale of clean energy production in the basin is expected to exceed 80 million kilowatts, making the area one of the world’s largest green energy bases in the future.

“The Yalong River cascade hydropower plant, through its superior regulating capacity, can help to stabilize the instability of wind and light power generation and promote the large-scale development of wind and light energy. At the same time, the existing hydropower transmission channels can be utilized to transmit clean power to boost cross-regional consumption of green, clean and renewable energy in the Yalong River basin, and contributes to the realization of China’s ‘dual carbon’ goals,” said Qi.

Lasting 17 years, the successful construction of the Lianghekou hydropower plant has created nine world records, including building rock dam with the greatest construction difficulty at the highest altitude, building the world’s highest intake tower, taking the lead in the construction scale and complexity of flood discharge system cavern group, as well as other aspects concerning scale, material strength and insulation technology that ranking top in the world.

Source: Built By China, 19 Mar 2022.

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