For many countries, hydropower has been an attractive option due to its advanced, clean power technology and low costs. As China focuses on protecting the environment and developing a green economy, developing hydropower resources has become more important in the government's national development strategy. In January 2013, the General Office of the State Council announced the "12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Development," which included launching more than 50 major hydropower projects before 2015. After being overlooked for years, hydropower has come to the forefront once again.
Under the "12th Five-Year Plan," the government aims to have 74 million kilowatts of new capacity available online, and construction will start on another 120 million kilowatts of capacity.
As China develops hydropower, hydropower construction is gradually transferring to remote areas in the southwest, where rich water power resources exist. Because of complicated geological conditions and problems related to environmental protection, project quality and safety standards have reached new levels. In turn, the need for first-class construction technologies has also reached new heights.
Fortunately, Cat® machines are stepping up to this challenge and setting new standards for the industry. With a diverse product line and quality service system, Caterpillar has already supplied a number of integrated solutions for many earthwork projects. From the Three Gorges Dam to the large hydropower stations including the Changheba, Baihetan and Wudongde hydropower dams, thousands of Cat®machines have contributed to the development of clean energy in China.
The Three Gorges Dam, for example, employed more than 300 Cat® machines and an integrated approach ensured the project progressed on time and efficiently. Among the 300 machines were Cat 777C Off-Highway Trucks and D11N Track-Type-Tractors, which played important roles in the river closure work.
Cat® machines also played an important role in the Xiluodu hydropower dam project. The dam generates 57.12 billion KWh of power annually and is ranked third in the world for installed capacity. During the concrete construction stage, six Cat D3K bulldozers were used to pour concrete in the dam body and nine Cat wheel loaders were used to construct tunnels. Caterpillar's complete, integrated solutions for hydropower construction controlled the temperature and thickness of concrete layers with precision, ensuring the success of the Xiluodu hydropower dam construction project.
Caterpillar, with its rigorous environmental standards, has become the first choice in many large hydropower construction projects - promising construction solutions and products for improved energy-saving and emission reduction. These initiatives will help China to supply clean energy, ensure safety, deal with climate change and realize sustainable development.