Construction has started on the main structure of a 2.24-gigawatt hydropower station on the Jinsha River, the upper section of the Yangtze.
A cofferdam, which blocks the river to allow work downstream, was built above the construction site on Saturday.
The Yebatan Hydropower Station is at the junction of Baiyu County in southwestern Sichuan Province and Konjo County in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
It will be the largest hydropower station on the upper reaches of the Jinsha River upon completion. It will be able to generate about 10.2 billion kilowatt-hours a year.
The project is undertaken by China Huadian Corporation, with a total investment of about 33.4 billion yuan (US$5 billion).
Wei Yongxin, of the Huadian Jinsha River Upstream Hydropower Development Co Ltd, said the project was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2016, and the power station’s first generating unit is expected to start operation in 2025.
Wei added that the project had contributed to local infrastructure-building and poverty alleviation.
About 240 kilometers of roads were built by Huadian around the station.
The company also upgraded an 84.5-kilometer road linking Baiyu County and Batang County in Sichuan, cutting travel from over five hours to two.
The power station’s first generating unit is expected to start operation in 2025
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“I earn more than 200 yuan each day working at the construction site, which is better than herding and farming,” said Jampa, a Tibetan herder from Konjo working on the project. “More importantly, I have the chance to learn new skills.”
The station is expected to replace 3.99 million tons of coal and reduce 7.37 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.