BEIJING, Aug. 30 (UPI) — China, whose latest hydropower station came on line last week, has laid claim to having the world’s largest hydropower capacity, authorities said.
The inauguration of the Xiaowan hydropower station in China’s southwest Yunnan province was described by Lui Qi, deputy director of the country’s National Energy Administration, as a “great leap forward,” China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The 700,000-kilowatt Xiaowan station is expected to increase China’s installed hydropower capacity to 200 million kilowatts, Xinhua said. The country’s second-largest hydropower project, which cost $5.86 billion, can produce 19 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year, officials said.
The station will receive water from the Xiaowan dam, the world’s tallest double-arch dam with a storage capacity of almost 530 billion cubic feet.
The Xiaowan is the fourth dam the Chinese have built on the upper part of the Mekong River, which the Chinese call the Lancang, Inter Press Service reported.
Countries on the lower stretches of the Mekong will not share China’s celebrations of its dam-building prowess, activists say. Erratic water levels have been reported in the Mekong since the construction of the dams, affecting livelihoods in riverside villages in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, critics say.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.