Testing of the 32nd and final turbine at China's massive Three Gorges underground power station has begun, as the hydroelectric project's highly anticipated May 2011 final completion date draws ever closer.
Nearly a century ago, “the Founding Father of Republican China” Sun Yat-sen (right) envisioned that building a large dam across the Yangtze River would provide as much as 30 million horsepower (22,371 MW) and act to control the devastating floods that had plagued eastern China for thousands of years.
Sun's plan would be studied by China's Nationalist government, Japanese occupation forces, the American army and Mao Zedong in succession and though each would approve the concept, actual construction would not begin until December of 1994.
After 14 long years and the and displacement of as many as 1.3 million people, the Three Gorges Dam is finished at last – all that needs to be done is to test the 32 enormous turbines in the power plant so that everything will work as planned when the power is switched on, sometime in May of 2011.
A milestone was reached this week as the 32nd and final Francis turbine began water-filling tests. The turbine is installed, along with 5 others, in the underground power plant situated inside the mountain south of the dam.
Another 14 generators are installed on the north side of the dam and a further 12 on the south side. It's expected that the total annual electricity generation from the Three Gorges Dam will be over 100 Twh. (via SINA and Wikipedia)