China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved construction of the 12,000MW Baihetan hydro power plant on the Jinsha river in the country’s southwest.

The Baihetan plant is to be built at a cost of US$6.3B and be situated on the lower reaches of the Jinsha river, an upstream branch of the Yangtze river. It will accompany three other hydro facilities – Xiludo, Wudongde and Xiangjiaba.

When completed in 2015, the station will be China’s third largest hydro scheme (after the 18,200MW Three Gorges and 12,600MW Xiluodu projects), producing 50BkWh/yr. The first unit is due online in 2012.