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Longtan Hydropower Station

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Projects > Dams

The Longtan Hydropower Station is a dam and hydroelectric power plant currently being constructed on the Hongshui River in China. Located in Guangxi’s northwestern Hechi Prefecture just upstream from the county of Tian. When completed, it will be China’s third largest dam and hydroelectric plant, next to the Three Gorges Dam and Xiluodu Hydropower Station.

It was designed to provide power generation, help flood control, improve conditions for shipping, and combat salt tide that has plagued water usage in cities along the Pearl River Delta.[1] The entire project involves the construction of a roller-compacted concrete gravity dam, subterranean power plant, and two ship locks to allow for navigation past the dam. The project is estimated for completion in 2009[2] and the projected cost is US$4.2 billion (30 billion yuan).[3]

Twenty percent of the project is being funded by governmental organizations, forming Longtan Hydropower Development Co. The other 80 percent is being provided by loans from China Development Bank, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China.

The completed dam will be the world’s highest roller-compacted dam[4] at 710 feet (216.5 m) high and 2,729 feet (832 m) wide.[5] The underground power plant will be 1,274.3 feet (388.5 m) long, 934.8 feet (285 m) wide, and 238.5 feet (72.7 m) high.[6] The hydropower station will be equipped with nine generators, with a total installed power capacity of 5,400 megawatts, which is expected to produce between 15.6 to 18.7 billion kilowatt-hours annually.[7] The ship locks and lifts will be the world’s fastest, capable of lifting major cargo ships 587 feet (179 m) from the river level below to the reservoir level behind the dam.

The Longtan Hydropower Station requires the relocation of more than 80,000 residents in 10 counties of Guizhou Province and Guangxi.[8]

Contents

[edit] Construction History

The initial planning and prospecting of Longtan Hydropower Station began in the late 1950s. However, it was not until early 1990 that detailed plans were established and building of necessary infrastructure began.

Longtan was intended to be one of ten hydropower stations constructed on the Hongshui River. The river originates in the Ma-Xiong Mountains of Yunnan Province and flows southeast across Guangxi before merging with Guangdong Province’s Pearl River. Hongshui River is 1,000 miles (1,619 km) long, draining approximately 82,000 square miles (212,380 km2) of water. [9]

These 10 stations, many of which are still under construction, are intended to develop western China by harnessing its abundance of water resources, meanwhile decreasing China’s reliance upon coal for power. Together, this “cascade of dams” is expected to provide 60 billion kilowatt-hours annually, as well as serving as a comprehensive solution to flood control.[10]

In 1999, the Longtan Hydropower Development Co. was formed as a state-owned enterprise to construct, manage, and fund the project. It was made of three major partners, each with one-third of the company’s shares: State Power Corp., Guangxi Electric Power Co. and Guangxi Development and Investment Co.

Before construction on the dam began, US$120 million (1 billion yuan) was spent on preparatory construction. The counties surrounding the site were underdeveloped and incapable of serving the thousands of workers set to arrive for the project. Preparatory construction included building two highways with a combined length of 60 miles (95 km) connecting the Longtan site to the outside world. They also had to build transport facilities; water and power supply works as well as facilities to store construction materials.

In July 2001, work preparing the dam site began. The mountains on both side of the site were excavated, a diversion tunnel was built, and a small cofferdam was constructed.

In November 2003, the dam was diverted and construction on the dam superstructure began.

The Longtan reservoir began collecting water from Hongshui River in the summer of 2006. On September 30, 2006, the four sluice gates lowered to stop the flow of the river and the Longtan reservoir began storing the collected water. The reservoir is capable of holding 35 billion cubic yards (27 billion m3) of water.[11]

Power generation began in May 2007, two months ahead of schedule.[12] A total of three generators went into operation in 2007.[13]

Nearly four years after the first batch of concrete was poured in August 2004, completion of the dam superstructure was announced four months ahead of schedule on March 12, 2008.[14] Approximately 9.57 million cubic yards (7.36 million m3) of concrete were poured into the main wall of the dam.[15]

The final six generators are supposed to be installed and operational in 2009.[16]

The entire project is estimated for completion in December 2009.[17]

[edit] Relocation

The rising water of Hongshui River covers five counties in Guangxi and parts of five counties in Guizhou. This resulted in the relocation of more than 80,000 people whose homes were flooded.

Unlike the Three Gorges Dam, the Longtan project relocation has not generated any visible large-scale opposition from environmental advocates or from those forced to vacate their homes.[18]

Officials of Guangxi claimed to have resettled most people in areas close to their original homes or townships.[19]

One heavily affected community is Tian County, which displaced 22,000 to 28,000 people.[20] Eighteen thousand of those simply moved to higher elevations, while the other 4,000 or more received assistance to move out of the county entirely.[21] These people were relocated to other locales within the Hechi Administrative Area, or Nanning or Wuzhou.

Tian County was supplied with US$121 million in relocation funds, or US$4,866 per person.[22] These funds were used to construct public utilities and infrastructure, develop new farmlands and fruit tree plantations, compensate farmers for their property, and build new houses.

[edit] Effect on Surrounding Culture

The surrounding area of the Longtan Hydropower Station site is known as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Located in the underdeveloped southwestern region of China on the border with Vietnam.

Before construction began, the majority of Guangxi’s residents were subsistence farmers living in isolated communities. They had not kept pace economically or socially with more developed provinces.[23]

Tian County, located just five miles (8 km) from the dam site, had remained both physically and historically isolated for centuries. However, Longtan construction quickly made Tian a boomtown, as it economically profited from an influx of money and outsiders. Mayor Pan Rongchao said, in one year the local GDP increased by 40 percent and population increased by 20,000.[24] Every home and business now had reliable electricity and phone service. The town even received working cell phone service.

There were about 5,000 to 6,000 workers at the dam site.[25] The new population required housing, food, and entertainment, which led to 20,000 new service related jobs in one year.[26] However, the local populace was incapable of keeping up with the huge demand for labor so people began to flood into Tian for job opportunities.

Land values increased 150 percent as 150 new hotels were built in downtown Tian.[27] Local food prices also rose significantly, but eventually stabilized as local farmers increased production and food was imported from other parts of Guangxi.

Mayor Pan realized the influx of money was creating an “economic bubble” that could not be sustained once the construction was complete.[28] This led to the development of a two-phase economic development plan. The first phase was currently in motion with the quick build-up of infrastructure including new and improved roads, schools, and residential areas. The second phase would sustain development and maintain revenue by collecting from electricity sold by the Longtan Hydropower Station.

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] References

  1. China.org.cn Longtan Hydropower Plant Begins Water Storage, October, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-24.
  2. Fire Fighting Enterprises Longtan Hydropower Station Uses Beam Detection. HalmaPR.com, June, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  3. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  4. Fire Fighting Enterprises Longtan Hydropower Station Uses Beam Detection. HalmaPR.com, June, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  5. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  6. China.org.cn Longtan Hydropower Plant Begins Water Storage, October, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-24.
  7. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  8. China.org.cn Longtan Hydropower Plant Begins Water Storage, October, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-24.
  9. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  10. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  11. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  12. PeopleDaily.com China's 2nd Largest Hydropower Station to Operate in 2007, March, 2005. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  13. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  14. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  15. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  16. ChinaDaily.com China's 3rd-largest Hydropower Plant Finishes Dam Building, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  17. CRIEnglish.com Longtan Hydropower Station Operational, December, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-24)
  18. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  19. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  20. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  21. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  22. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Guangxi-Power-prt.htm
  23. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm
  24. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm
  25. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm
  26. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm
  27. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm
  28. http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/sandt/ptr/Longtan-Dam-prt.htm