The Fengning pumped storage hydroelectric facility will be connected with the Beijing-Tianjin-North Hebei grid.
The Fengning pumped storage hydropower project is located in the Hebei Province of China. Image courtesy of
Andritz supplies two variable speed pump turbines for the Fengning pumped storage project. Image courtesy of ANDRITZ.

The 3.6GW Fengning pumped storage power station under construction in the Hebei Province of China will be the world’s biggest pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant.

The massive pumped storage facility is being developed in two phases of 1.8GW capacity each by State Grid Xinyuan Company, a directly managed subsidiary of state-owned State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC). State Grid Xinyuan Company will also manage and operate the facility after its commissioning.

Construction on the £2.1bn ($2.7bn) project has been underway since June 2013, while phase one is expected to commence operations by 2021 with phase two scheduled for commissioning in 2023.

The Fengning pumped storage facility will operate as a peaking power plant for the safe and stable operation of the Beijing-Tianjin-North Hebei grid while balancing the intermittent power supply from large wind and solar parks in northern Hebei and Inner Mongolia regions.

The facility is also intended to provide power supply for the Olympic Winter Games to be held in China in 2022.

Location and site details

The Fengning pumped storage project is located approximately 145km northwest of Chengde, in Fengning Manchu Autonomous County, Hebei, China.

The project site lies approximately 180km from Beijing which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The upper reservoir for the project is located at Huiyaozigou on the left bank of the Luanhe River that flows northwards from Hebei to Inner Mongolia. It has a total storage capacity of 48.83m3.

The pumped storage facility will use the existing Fengning hydropower facility near Niuyuan that was brought into operation in 2001 as the lower reservoir, which has a total storage capacity of 66.15m3.

Fengning pumped-storage project background

A pumped storage hydropower facility at Fengning was conceived in 1996, while site selection and pre-feasibility study were completed in 2001.

A feasibility study for the 3.6GW project was completed in 2009, which was approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in 2010.

NDRC granted approval for the construction and operation of the Fengning pumped storage facility in 2012.

Plant make-up

The Fengning pumped storage hydroelectric facility will comprise an underground powerhouse equipped with 12 reversible Francis pump-turbine units of 300MW capacity each.

The project is being developed in two phases involving six reversible pump-turbine units each.

Two of the six units to be installed in phase two will be variable-speed motor-generator units. Each variable speed pump-turbine unit will have a rated capacity of 330MVA in generator mode and 345MVA in pump mode.

Fengning will be the first hydroelectric facility in China to integrate variable speed technology for efficient power generation.

Fengning pumped storage operation

Water from the lower reservoir will be pumped uphill to the upper reservoir for storage utilising excess renewable energy present in the grid. The facility will use up to 4.565TWh of electricity a year for pumping operation.

Stored water will be released downhill from the upper reservoir for power generation during peak electricity demand. The facility can switch from pumping mode to generate electricity at full capacity in just five minutes.

The Fengning pumped storage power plant will be capable of generating 3.424TWh of electricity annually.

Power evacuation

The electricity generated by the 3.6GW pumped-storage hydropower facility will be evacuated into the Beijing-Tianjin-North Hebei grid through two 500kV transmission lines.

Contractors involved with the Fengning pumped storage power project

State-owned China Gezhouba Group (CGGC) was awarded the main construction contract for the Fengning pumped-storage hydropower station in April 2014.

Andritz was contracted to supply two variable speed pump turbines along with AC-excitation, governor, as well as protection and computer control systems for phase two of the Fengning pumped-storage project in September 2017.

Dongfang Electric Machinery is the provider of remaining pump-turbine units for the facility.

In June 2018, GE Power was contracted to provide two variable speed MV7000 converters for the two pump-turbine units being supplied by Andritz, as well as one static frequency converter for the remaining four generators being supplied by Dongfang Electric Machinery.

HBIS Group was contracted by Andritz to deliver 300t of extra-thick steel plates for the base ring boards of two reversible pump turbines for the project in 2018.

HBIS also supplied 5000t of special hydropower steel products for the project previously.

China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group and Beijing Survey and Design Institute prepared the feasibility study report in 2009 while Beijing Guodian Hydropower Engineering prepared the pre-feasibility study report for the project.