This year is the 100th anniversary of hydropower in China. Following the beginning of operations for Unit 4 of China Huaneng Group's Xiaowan Hydropower Station in Yunnan province on August 25, China's installed capacity of hydropower surpassed 200 GW, ranking the country top in the world. Xiaowan Hydropower Station is the second scheme in the cascade development planning of the middle and downstream river section of Lancang River. The power station plans to install six units of 700 megawatts MW each, with a total installed capacity of 4,200 MW.
"By 2020, the installed capacity of hydropower in China has to be increased to 380 GW, including 330 GW of conventional hydropower and 50 GW of pump-storage hydropower," Zhang said at the Centennial Conference of Hydropower in China. "To further improve the energy structure in China, to achieve the objective set for 2020 on energy conservation and emission reduction, and to promote the sustainable development of the national economy, we have to develop hydropower in an orderly way," Zhang said.
Zhang added that national policies and regulation on aspects such as environmental protection, resettlement, cultivated land protection, and new rural construction will be used for hydropower development. Hydropower shall not be treated as only a power project, as adequate attention shall be paid to build it as an environmentally and socially friendly project.
China is among the countries with the richest hydropower resources, and the installed capacity of technically exploitable water resources could reach 542 GW, of which 402 GW are economic exploitable. It's expected that the installed capacity of hydropower in China will reach 300 GW during the 12th Five-Year Plan 2011-15.