The Longtan hydropower station, China’s third-largest, will be fully operating before the end of this year, the proprietor said on Tuesday

The seven sets of generators, with a capacity of 700,000 kw each, will all be put into operation by the end of the year, said Dai Bo, general manager of the Longtan Hydropower Development Company.

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Five generators have begun operation and two are still being installed.

The Longtan hydropower project is the third-largest in Chinese mainland, after the Three Gorges project and the Xiluodu hydropower project.

Costing 30 billion yuan (about 4.35 billion U.S. dollars), the Longtan hydropower complex has become a landmark project in China’s strategy for the development of the western regions.

The station is situated in the upper reaches of the Hongshui river, a main tributary of the Zhujiang River, a key waterway in south China that serves as a gateway to the sea in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

With a water level of 400 meters, the station is designed to provide 18.7 billion kwh of electricity annually.

More than 80,000 residents of 10 counties in southwest China’s Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were relocated for the project. The river was cut off in November 2003 and major work began in July 2007.

The Longtan project has set three world records: the highest concrete dam, the largest underground factory and the ship-lifter with the longest lifting distance.

The station plays a very important role in meeting electricity demand in Guangxi and Guangdong, Dai said.

The project would improve navigation on the Hongshui River, enhance flood prevention work on the Zhujiang river system and provide more fresh water to repel salt water at the lower reaches of the Zhujiang (Pearl) River Delta, he said.

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