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Three Gorges Power Production Reducing Carbon Emissions

The Three Gorges project, the world's largest hydro-power plant, has generated 200 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, officials in charge of the project announced on Friday.

As of Friday morning, the plant had produced electricity worth 50 billion yuan (US$6.7 billion) since it started operation in 2003, officials with the China Yangtze Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) said.

The huge amount of electricity production, equal to the power generated by 120 million tons of coal, has led to a reduction of 240 million tons of carbon emissions, said Ma Zhenbo, general manager of the plant operated by the CTGPC.

China has been trying to encourage the use of renewable and clean energy to curb worsening pollution amid a booming economy.

The electricity generated by the project, located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze, the country's longest river, has fueled 15 provinces in central, eastern and southern China, easing a severe power shortage in the industrial regions.

Launched in 1993 and built at an estimated cost of 180 billion yuan (about US$24 billion), the Three Gorges Project will eventually have 32 generators with a combined generating capacity of 22.4 million kilowatts.

To date, 18 turbines -- 14 on the northern bank of the gorges and four on the southern bank -- have been in operation with a combined capacity of 12.6 million kilowatts, enough to fuel Beijing on a peak day.

By the end of 2008, a total of 26 turbines on both banks will have started operation, raising the project's annual electricity output to 84.7 billion kwh.

The project boasts a 185-meter-high dam that was completed in early 2006 and a five-tier ship lock. It passed this summer the test to control possible flooding which in the past claimed many lives and caused great economic loss.

(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2007)

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