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Gongu, Gorges Dam, largest electricity, Gansu Province, Dadu

China is one of the world's leading producers of electricity. However, the demand for electricity is greater than the domestic supply, especially in cities.

In 1999, 80 percent of China's annual electrical output was generated in thermal installations, most burning coal. Hydropower accounted for 19 percent, and nuclear power supplied 1 percent. New coal-fired stations include several built near the large coal deposits of North China. China’s main hydroelectric stations are at Liujia Xia on the Huang He (Yellow River) in Gansu Province, Danjiangkou on the Han Jiang in Hubei Province, and Gongu on the Dadu in Sichuan Province. Numerous other large-scale generating stations are under construction, including one on the Yangtze River near the Yangtze Gorges, and one on the Huang He. China began building nuclear power plants in the 1980s. By the late 1990s two were in operation: one near Shanghai, and one near Hong Kong.

China's waterpower resources are more plentiful than those of any other country. A notable feature of China’s hydroelectric power industry has been the construction of small, local power-generating plants. Local governments and rural communes have harnessed hydroelectric potential as an integral part of their water conservation programs, especially in the south, where precipitation is great and rivers are swift and often have steep gradients. In 1992 the government began constructing the Yangtze Gorges water conservancy and power generation project on the Yangtze River near Chongqing. The project, known as the Three Gorges Dam, will create the largest electricity-generating facility in the world. Power generation is scheduled to begin in 2003, and the whole project is scheduled for completion in 2009.

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