China's hydropower industry is no longer a novice, but a global leader
China's hydropower industry has transformed from a novice to a leader and industry pioneer. It has advanced technology and engineering quality, which has helped it establish business in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia in recent years. It added 8,540 megawatts of power last year, which is the largest for any country's hydropower industry. According to the 2019 Hydropower Status Report released by the International Hydropower Association in May, Brazil (3866 MW), Pakistan (2487 MW) and Turkey (1085 MW) are close behind. It is also the world's largest hydroelectric power plant with an installed capacity of 352.3 gigawatts. The report said that China continued to lead hydropower in 2018 and this trend is expected to continue. Industry insiders said this is not surprising, as the Chinese government has been promoting its clean energy in the past few years to optimize the energy structure. According to data from China Electric Power Planning and Design Institute, clean energy consumption including natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power and wind power generation accounted for 22.1% of energy consumption last year, an increase of 1.3 percentage points over the same period in 2017. According to data from the National Energy Administration, in the first quarter of this year, hydropower generated 215.9 billion kilowatts of electricity, up 12% year-on-year, while renewable energy generated 388.5 billion kilowatts, up 13% year-on-year. The country is also increasing the size of hydropower development. According to statistics from the Ministry of Water Resources, as of the end of last year, 46,500 small hydropower stations have been built in rural areas across the country, with an annual power generation capacity of more than 230 billion kilowatt-hours. The standard systems for planning, design, construction, and management are complete. In order to further encourage the development of the hydropower industry, China's top economic planner announced new measures on May 16 to reduce the cost of electricity for industrial and commercial users. From July 1, the new measures will reduce financing costs for major hydropower projects by 50%, which will help reduce electricity costs. Over the past few months, Chinese energy companies have also accelerated the construction of hydropower stations around the world. China Hydropower signed a contract to develop a 294 MW Koukoutamba hydropower project in northern Guinea in February, while China Gezhouba Group signed an agreement with Vase of Laos to support the Nam Bayu hydropower project in the country's capital, Vientiane. The project is expected to significantly alleviate the power shortage, create a large number of jobs, train a group of experienced technical personnel, and drive the development of the upstream and downstream industrial chain in Laos. "The scale and number of China's participation in hydropower projects overseas has grown rapidly in recent years," said Wei Hanyang, an electricity market analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. "From the Shweli River Hydropower Station built by China Huaneng Group in Myanmar in 2006 to the Carlot Hydropower Station built by China Three Gorges Group in Pakistan, the Chinese hydropower industry is among the first hydropower industries to open up international markets." China Three Gorges Corporation is the world's largest hydropower project builder and operator of the Three Gorges Dam. This project is the first overseas hydropower project in China to adopt its own technology and standards. It is expected to be completed within two years and will be completed in 2021. Power generation began in April. The 720 MW, $ 1.74 billion Carlot Hydropower Project was started in April 2015. After the project is completed, it is expected to solve the bottleneck of domestic power supply and provide sustainable and stable energy support. After completion, it will generate approximately 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of clean power each year, equivalent to 10% of the total power generation of hydropower stations in China in 2017. "Although the domestic hydropower market is saturated because the main waterways are close to full development, considering resource constraints and environmental protection, many hydropower companies are exploring markets overseas," Wei said. "After years of development in China's hydropower technology, it has first-class quality and strong competitiveness in the cost, construction, management and control of large-scale projects worldwide. However, Chinese companies should also pay more attention to local environmental protection and social impact assessment.