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China debuts biggest hydroelectric dam since Three Gorges

16-gigawatt Baihetan to replace 20m tons of annual coal consumption

China's Baihetan hydropower station, built in the Jinsha River basin, will provide power to coastal regions. (Photo courtesy of China Three Gorges Corp.)

CHONGQING -- China's giant Baihetan hydroelectric dam, the second largest in the country, began generating electricity on Monday, in a boost to Beijing's push toward a carbon-neutral society.

The Baihetan hydropower station, which feeds off the Jinsha River in southwestern China, turned on two of its 16 generating units, each having a capacity of 1 gigawatt. The dam is due to operate at full capacity in July 2022.

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