China electricity giant starts building new hydropower stations

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BEIJING — Construction began on new hydropower plants with advanced electricity storage in central and east China on June 12, marking the country’s latest effort to promote clean energy.

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest electric utility company, began building the three power stations, which can store hydropower to be used during periods of high-demand, in Anhui, Shandong and Henan provinces.

With a capacity of 3.6 million kilowatts and total investment of 21.7 billion yuan ($3.55 billion), all the projects are scheduled to be completed and put into operation by 2021, the company said.

The power plants are expected to reduce China’s greenhouse gas emissions, cutting carbon dioxide by 3.64 million tons as well as sulfur dioxide and other fumes, equivalent to consumption of 2.18 million tons of coal.

The company currently has 19 hydropower plants with another 12 planned or under construction in the country’s central and eastern areas. Total capacity is expected to reach 38 million kilowatts by 2020.

The projects will be a push for the national ambition to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its power grid and gradually replace prevailing but heavily-polluting thermal power generated from coal.

China has been working to promote hydropower, wind power, solar power and nuclear power. Its installed hydropower capacity surpassed 300 million kilowatts by the end of 2014, making up around a quarter of the world’s total.

The power stations will also help improve China’s ultra-high voltage grid, improving its safety and reliability, said Zhang Zhengling, spokesperson of the electricity giant.

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