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Chongqing to gain from Three Gorges project after all
( 2003-07-05 09:14) (China Daily)

Electricity distribution from the Three Gorges project has been revised by the government to allow the power-pinched Chongqing Municipality to receive a share of the product.

Also according to sources, the sales contracts to supply Shanghai and eight provinces in Central and Eastern China are expected to be signed soon.

Four units of the 26-unit US$22 billion hydropower project will start cranking out 5.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity this year.

The original generation target was set at 3.9 billion kilowatt hours for the year. But it increased as the first two generators are expected to start spinning electricity in August, one month ahead of the schedule.

Excluding Chongqing, the plan was to distribute 52 per cent of the power from the dam this year to Central China. The rest was earmarked for the nation's east.

But under the revised plan, Chongqing is expected to receive 500 million kilowatt hours during winter.

Chongqing wants to use the power option when its existing supply from neighbouring Sichuan Province falls short.

The metropolis in the southwest had previously refused electricity from the Three Gorges as it had believed its supply was sufficient.

"Some provinces and regions had seen Three Gorges electricity as an affliction,'' said Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the State Development and Reform Commission. "But now they are asking for more (when their supply is insufficient).''

Sources said the China Yangtze Electric Power Corp, a spin-off company of the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corp -- which is building the dam -- is expected to sign sales contracts in Beijing in the next couple of weeks.

Power prices will be no higher than the average on-grid tariffs, a source said. It aims to ensure that the dam's electricity is not out of the reach of local consumers.

According to Lu Qizhou, vice-general manager of the State Grid Corp of China, the on-grid tariff from the Three Gorges is an average of 0.25 yuan (3 US cents) per kilowatt hour. The average transmission charge is 0.07 yuan (0.8 US cents) per kilowatt hour.

Lu said he is not concerned about pricing as the local provinces have to accept the electricity, as required by the Chinese Government.

Under the distribution plan, when transmission lines linking the dam to South China's Guangdong Province are finished, 16 per cent of the electricity will be sent to Guangdong, 32 per cent will go to eastern China and 52 per cent will be consumed in the nation's central regions.

But experts say they expect the government to continue to revise the distribution plan to also include Chongqing.

They said the distribution plan as it stands is too rigid as electricity generation may vary from year to year due to water level fluctuations.

The Three Gorges' first pair of generators are being trailed at the moment.

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