China plans to build five large hydropower projects by 2010, and four power generation companies are to be created to run them. The projects include: Gongboxia, capacity 1500MW; Laxiwa, capacity 3720MW; Longtan, capacity 5400MW, on the upper reaches of the Hongshui river in Guangxi Zhuag autonomous region; Xiaowan, capacity 4200MW, on the Lancang river in Yunnan province; and Sanbanxi, capacity 1500MW, on the Yuanshi river in Hunan province.

China’s state development corporation has said it is considering separating the operation of the power grid from that of power plants, to create a fair competitive environment for power producers. Currently a regional power corporation supervises both power plants and grids. The move ma pave the way for direct foreign investment in China’s hydropower industry.

Meanwhile in the northwest, China aims to build more hydro power plants on the upper reaches of the Yellow river. The Northwest China Surveying and Designing Institute has revised its plans for construction on the upper part of the river, increasing generation capacity estimates to 16580MW with an annual output of 58.9B kWh.

The Yellow river in the Longyangxia-Qingtongxia section falls by 140m for every 100km, with a total drop of around 1300m. Seven large and medium sized hydro plants with generating capacity totalling 5400MW have already been built along this 918km reach, including the 2000MW Lijiaxia station. Two more stations are already in the planning stages: Gongboxia and Laxiwa.