The Three Gorges hydropower station will become the center for China's power grid in 2011 when it goes into full operation with 32 power turbines, a senior official with the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation said on Thursday.
"By then, the power station will be capable of generating 100 billion kwh of electricity annually, thus providing an effective guarantee for the security of power grids nationwide," Li Yong'an, the corporation's general manger, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
In line with the original plan, the Three Gorges Project will have 26 power turbines on the left and right banks of the Three Gorges Dam, with a combined generating capacity of 18.2 million kw.
The gigantic project is expected to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually when it is completed in 2009.
So far, workers have successfully installed 14 turbo-generators on the left bank and all of them had been put into power generation by September last year. They generated 49.09 billion kwh of electricity in 2005 alone.
According to the original plan, 12 power turbines will be installed on the right bank and they will be put into operation in 2007 and 2008, six in each year, Li said.
The State Council, or China's cabinet, later approved another six turbines at an underground power station in a mountain close to the right bank with a combined generating capacity of 700,000 kw, he said.
The six turbines will go into operation in 2010 and 2011, three in each, he said.
Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including a 2,309-meter-long, 185-meter-high dam, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river.
Besides its huge power generating capacity, the project is expected to tame flooding on the Yangtze, fuel industrial growth in the area and improve shipping.