The Yellow River Yangqu project is a 1.2GW run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station under construction in the Qinghai province, China, with an estimated total investment of £2.03bn ($2.53bn).

Upper Yellow River Hydropower Development Company is responsible for the development of the power project. State Power Investment Group Company (94.17%), Gansu Electric Power Investment Group (3.47%), and Shaanxi Hydropower Development Company (2.36%) are the stakeholders in the project.

The Qinghai Provincial Development and Reform Commission approved the hydroelectric power project in November 2021 and the main construction works on the power station were commenced in December in the same year.

The first power generation unit is expected to enter into operations in July 2024 and the entire hydropower generation facility is anticipated to be completed in 2025.

The Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station is estimated to generate approximately 4.732 billion kilo watt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, at full capacity.

The project is expected to contribute to a power source for the installation of a new energy base of 10 million kilowatts in the Hainan prefecture.

Location and site details

The Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station is located at the junction of Xinghai county and Guinan county in the Hainan Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province, China.

The project site lies in the upper reaches of the Yellow River and upstream of the 1,280MW Longyangxia hydropower station, which is currently in operation.

Reservoir and dam details

The Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station will feature a reservoir with a total capacity of 1.639 billion cubic metres (bcm). The corresponding storage capacity of the reservoir is 1.4724bcm with a normal and a dead water level of 2,710m.

It will consist of a concrete face rockfill dam with 150m in height at the exit section of the Yangquxia gorge. The left auxiliary dam will be constructed as a concrete gravity dam with a height of 41m.

Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station details

The Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station will feature three 400MW Francis turbine generator units, which are designed to deliver a total power output of 1.2GW.

The project will involve the construction of a dam and an auxiliary dam, a left bank three-hole spillway, a flood discharge tunnel and an ecological water discharge tunnel, a water delivery system on the right bank and a ground powerhouse.

The power plant will be designed to operate at an ecological water level limit of 2,710m in order to comply with the environmental protection requirements.

Upon its completion, the hydropower station is expected to offset approximately 4.412 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2), 385.8t of carbon monoxide (CO) and 16,956t of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions. It is also estimated to reduce the consumption of about 1.467Mt of standard coal annually.

Power evacuation

The electricity generated from the Yellow River Yangqu hydroelectric power station will be evacuated through a 330kV power transmission line.

Contractors involved

Fourth Bureau of Hydropower was contracted to carry out the construction works of the Yangqu hydropower station.

Third Bureau of Hydropower was engaged for the closure of the main riverbed, excavation of the dam abutment and concrete pouring works.

Voith Hydro was awarded a contract to manufacture and supply three Francis turbines in February 2011.

PowerChina Northwest Survey and Design Research Institute Company was selected for the assessment and analysis of the social stability risk factors of the project. It had also undertaken the preliminary works of the power station in May 2010.

Longyangxia hydropower station details

The Longyangxia hydropower station is located on the main stream of the Yellow River between Gonghe County and Guide County in the Qinghai province.

Construction on the power plant was started in 1978, with the first unit put into operations in September 1987. The hydropower station was completed in 1992.

Consisting of four single 320MW units, the Longyangxia plant produces 6 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year.

The Yellow River Yangqu hydropower station is one of the three cascade hydropower stations planned to be built upstream of the Longyangxia hydropower station. The other two stations include Ciha and Bando.