At 1:55, February 26th, 2023, Jinping Hydropower Plant of the SDIC Group’s Yalong Hydro, the largest power generation enterprise in Sichuan Province, witnessed its cumulative generation volume to have surpassed 400 billion kWh. It is estimated that 400 billion kWh of electricity can satisfy the need of a mega city with more than 20 million people for over two years, create over 8.6 trillion yuan worth of GDP, or is equivalent to saving more than 160 million tons of coal with green electricity.
Jinping Hydropower Plant of Yalong Hydro is in charge of the operation, maintenance and management of the Jinping Cascade I and the Jinping Cascade II hydropower stations. With 14 turbine units each with a capacity of 600 MW, the hydropower stations have a total installed capacity of 8400 MW, making the power plant the largest in Sichuan Province and also the China’s largest in terms of “one plant with two cascade hydropower stations”. The first turbine unit of the plant was put into operation on December 30th, 2012. The Jinping Cascade II has an installed capacity of 4800 MW and the Jinping Cascade I has an installed capacity of 3600 MW, making them among the largest hydropower stations in Sichuan Province.
Output of Sichuan power grid increases by 22.5% on average in drought seasons, substantially improving the grid’s stable supply of electricity.
Hydropower accounts for a larger share in Sichuan’s power grid and hydropower supply of the grid fluctuates greatly in rainy and drought seasons because most of the hydropower stations use runoff water to generate electricity. The Jinping cascade hydropower stations operate in a unified manner and can adjust water flow, which plays a significant role in guaranteeing stable power supply of the Sichuan-Chongqing power grid.
Since all the turbine units of the Jinping Cascade I Hydropower Station were put into operation in 2014, the output of Sichuan power grid increases by 22.5% and electricity generated by hydropower stations in the lower reaches of the Yalong River increases by more than 6 billion kWh. In addition, it also benefits the cascade hydropower stations in the lower reaches of the Jinsha River and the Yangtze River, by increasing electricity generation by more than 5.1 billion kWh each year.
Underground powerhouse of the Jinping Cascade II Hydropower Station
In March 2022, the Lianghekou Hydropower Station, the largest reservoir hydropower station in Sichuan Province, was put into full operation. The top three hydropower stations of the Lianghekou Hydropower, the Jinping Cascade I Hydropower and the Ertan Hydropower have formed a unified adjustment ability of water with storage totaling 24.3 billion cubic meters. The unified adjustment of water flow makes the cascade hydropower stations along the Yalong River basin to be able to provide stable power supply to Sichuan power grid no matter in rainy or drought seasons, which has improved stable power supply in rainy and drought seasons, increased power supply capability in drought seasons and optimized the structure of power sources. In the meantime, it also helps improve the operation quality and economical operation of the grid.
Staff of the Jinping Cascade I Hydropower are at the controlling room of the power station on February 26th
Contributing to power supply and effectively coping with the impacts of extreme weathers
The Jinping Cascade I Hydropower is a leading hydropower station in the lower reaches of the Yalong River. It has a 305-meter-high dam, the highest in the world, and a storage capacity of 7.76 billion cubic meters of water. The unified water adjustment of the top three reservoirs of the Yalong River enables the Yalong Hydro to effectively cope with the impacts of extreme weathers and maintain high quality and stable supply of electricity.
The Yalong Hydro Jinping Cascade I Hydropower Station has a 305-meter-high dam, the highest in the world.
In the cold weather period between December 2020 and January 2021, the Yalong Hydro generated 9.861 billion kWh, an increase of 1.396 billion kWh of electricity over the planned figure; in the cold weather period between December 2021 and January 2022, the Yalong Hydro generated 9.073 billion kWh, 517 million kWh higher than the planned figure.
In the summer of 2022, Sichuan encountered the challenges from highest temperature, lowest rainfall and heaviest power load. Despite a nearly 60% sharp drop of runoff water, the Yalong Hydro Jinping Cascade I, Jinping Cascade II and the Lianghekou hydropower stations jointly generated nearly 200 million kWh each day to guarantee power supply to the Sichuan-Chongqing region, making great contributions to the social and economic development of the region.
Staff of the Jinping Cascade II Hydropower Station inspects a turbine unit.
Backbone reservoirs play an important role in preventing floods and water-soil conservation in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River
According to the national plan, the Jinping Cascade I reservoir is a backbone reservoir of flood prevention in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Total flood control storage capacity of the reservoirs of the Yalong River cascade hydropower stations has reached 4.5 billion cubic meters after the Jinping Cascade I and the Lianghekou Hydropower were put into operation. In the flood season, the Yalong River Cascade hydropower stations play an important role in preventing flood.
Between July and September of 2020, the constant heavy rainfalls caused three floods in the Yalong River basin and five floods in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. According to weather forecast, the Yalong Hydro released reservoir water in advance to create storage capacity for forthcoming floods. The Jinping Cascade I reservoir, for instance, stored 2.6 billion cubic meters of flood water, which had greatly reduced the pressure of floods in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Staff of the Jinping Cascade II Hydropower Station conduct routine maintenance of equipment.
The super reservoir of the Jinping Cascade I Hydropower Station can substantially reduce the sediment content of the lower reaches and improve local microclimate surrounding the reservoir. The wetlands of the reservoir can also improve the local climate and benefit growth of plants, which is favorable for land-water resource conservation and ecological environment improvement in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and plays an important role in the protection of the ecological environment in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
Building the world’s largest green and clean energy demonstration base by making use of its advantages.
As the largest power generation enterprise in Sichuan Province, the Yalong Hydro has nearly 20 GW of operational installed capacity, accounting for about one fifth of the total clean energy installed capacity of the province and generating more than 80 billion kWh of clean electricity each year. Hydropower development in the middle reaches of the Yalong River is proceeding in an orderly manner, and construction of a number of large-type wind and photovoltaic power projects is accelerating its pace, with installed capacity of clean energy projects under construction reaching about 6 GW. Of them, the Kela photovoltaic project is the world’s largest hydro and solar complementary project, the Laba Mountain wind farm is the country’s first batch of large-type wind and photovoltaic project, and the Lianghekou project is the world’s largest hybrid pump-storage power project.
In the pandemic period, staff of the hydropower station work in a closed circle to guarantee operation of the station.
The Yalong Hydro will make full use of its advantage of “one company developing one river” to make its contribution to national energy security and to the country’s goals of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and realizing carbon neutrality goal before 2060. It will also accelerate the construction of the world’s largest wind, hydro and photovoltaic power demonstration base in the Yalong River basin and promote the high quality social and economic development of Sichuan Province.