Work on Three Gorges Dam 90 percent complete

Updated: 2007-03-24 15:19

Work on central China's massive Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydropower project, is 90 percent complete, the Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.

A general view shows the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river in Yichang in central China's Hubei province May 17, 2006. [Reuters]

The 180 billion yuan (US$22 billion) project, launched in 1993, on the Yangtze River is due to be finished next year.

Its 2.25-kilometer-wide (1.4-mile-wide) concrete wall was finished last year, and 14 of 26 planned power-generation turbines are operating, with three to four more due to be installed this year. 

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The 26 turbo-generators are designed to eventually produce 84.7 billion kwhs of electricity a year after its scheduled completion in 2008, according to the China Three Gorges Project Corporation.

The Three Gorges Project has generated 150 billion kwhs of electricity in three years, fuelling 15 provinces in central, eastern and southern China, easing a severe power shortage in their industrial regions, said the company in an earlier statement

The Chinese government built the dam in an effort to control devastating flooding on the Yangtze and as a clean power source, as China tries to cut its heavy reliance on coal.

China is investing heavily in hydropower and trying to encourage the use of other renewable energy sources.

The government began construction in November of another dam upstream on the Yangtze that media say might exceed the Three Gorges Dam's generating capacity.

The 28.9 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) Xiangjiaba Dam is due to be completed in 2015, according to news reports.

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