The reconstruction of China’s Fengman hydropower station was completed in September 2020. Image courtesy of Yan Linyun.
Harbin Electric Company supplied six hydro turbine-generator sets for the Fengman hydropower station reconstruction project. Image courtesy of Harbin Electric Group Co., Ltd.
The Fengman hydropower station reconstruction project increased the plant’s capacity to 1.48GW. Image courtesy of BoyuZhang1998.

The Fengman hydropower station originally built in 1937 on the Songhua River in Jilin Province is one of the oldest hydroelectric facilities of China. It has been reconstructed with a total installed capacity of 1.48GW to eliminate safety hazards and provide better flood control.

The £1.04bn ($1.33bn) reconstruction project was executed by State Grid Xinyuan Company, a subsidiary of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), in collaboration with Jilin Provincial Government and the Songliao Committee of the Ministry of Water Resources.

The project involved the construction of six new power generating units of 200MW capacity each and retention of last two old units (unit 11 and 12) of 140MW capacity each.

The first three new units were put into operation between September and December 2019. The units four and five were commissioned in April and July 2020, respectively, followed by the commissioning of the sixth unit in September 2020.

The reconstructed Fengman hydropower station plant has an annual electricity generation capacity of 1.709TWh. 

New Fengman dam and reservoir details 

The Fengman hydropower station reconstruction project involved the construction of a new roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam, approximately 120m away from the original dam. The sideline of the new dam’s foundation pit is just 40m away from the old dam.

The 1,068m-long and 94.5m-high dam has a storage capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm).

The reservoir is fed from a constant flow of the Songhua River, which originates from Heaven Lake at the top of Changbai Mountain situated at an elevation of 2,189m above the sea level. 

New Fengman hydropower plant make-up 

The new Fengman hydropower station comprises six sets of 200MW Francis turbine generator units. 

The other equipment installed at the power station includes computer monitoring systems, relay protection systems, excitation systems, speed control systems, condition monitoring systems and power station auxiliary systems. 

The new power plant also houses a 550kV ELK-3 gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) along with HVR-63 and HECS-80M generator circuit-breakers (GCBs) equipped with GMS600 monitoring system. 

Contractors involved with the Fengman hydropower station reconstruction

Chinese Academy of Water Sciences, East China Survey and Design Institute, Beijing Survey and Design Institute, and Northeast Survey Design Institute were engaged in the feasibility study for the reconstruction project.

Harbin Electric Machinery was appointed as the mechanical and electrical contractor in December 2015. The contract scope included the construction, installation and the commissioning of six hydro turbine generator sets. 

ABB supplied the GIS and GCBs for the Fengman hydropower station reconstruction project under a contract awarded in August 2016. 

Original Fengman hydropower station details 

The Fengman hydropower project was originally conceived by the Japanese Kwantung Army Command that had invaded Manchuria (now Northeast China). The dam was built by the Japanese between 1937 and 1942, while start of power generation started in 1943.

The hydropower station was taken over by the Northeast People’s Government of China in 1948.

The hydropower station was developed in three phases with a total installed capacity of 1,002.5MW.

Eight generating units of total capacity 552MW were put into production by 1960 under phase one, while units nine and ten of 85MW capacity each were brought online by June 1992 as in phase two.

In phase three, two more units (units 11 and 12) of 140MW capacity each were commissioned in July 1998.

The original concrete dam was 1,080m-long and 91m-high with a reservoir storage volume of 8.85bcm. The power plant catchment area was 42,500km2.

Also known as the “cradle of China’s hydropower” and “mother of China’s hydropower”, the Fengman dam project is considered to have significantly contributed to power generation, flood control and ecological environment protection. 

Fengman hydropower station reconstruction background 

With congenital defects and potential safety hazards, the old Fengman hydropower station was recognised as a disease dam by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission Dam Safety Supervision Centre in 2005.

The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) made a request to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) for the preliminary work of reinforcement at the Fengman hydropower station in February 2006.

The reconstruction project was approved by NDRC in October 2012, while the  demolition of the old dam was commenced in October 2018.