The world’s biggest under-construction power plants by capacity

Digvijay Bhusan 3 April 2019 (Last Updated July 25th, 2020 09:10)

As of 2019, the world’s ten biggest under-construction power plants have a combined capacity of 64.7GW, with the majority being hydroelectric (57%), followed by thermal (28%) and nuclear (15%).

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants by capacity
The Baihetan hydropower station will be the second largest power facility, upon commissioning in 2022. Image courtesy of China Three Gorges.

While the list includes three 4,000MW power plants, six more thermal power plants of the same capacity are under construction in China and India. These include Datang Dongying, Lara super thermal, Jiaozuo Danhe, Gansu Gazhou Changle, Yadadri, and Ramagundam expansion. Power-technology lists the ten biggest under-construction power plants in the world, based on capacity.

The top ten power plants under construction: Ranking the ten biggest

10. Patratu Super Thermal Power Project

9. Shandong Shenglu Coal-Fired Power Project

8. Fujian Luoyuanwan Power Project

7. Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant Units 4, 5 and 6

6. Dasu Hydropower Project

5. Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

4. Leizhou Thermal Power Project

3. The Grand Renaissance Hydroelectric Project

2. Wudongde Hydropower Project

1. Baihetan Hydropower Station

10. Patratu Super Thermal Power Project, India – 4,000MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Patratu super thermal power project is being constructed in Jharkhand, India. Image courtesy of David J.

The coal-fired Patratu power project has been under construction since 2018 in Jharkhand, India. The project is being developed by Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (PVUN Limited), which is a joint venture (JV) between NTPC (74%) and Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL, 26%).

The super thermal power plant is being developed in two phases, with three 800MW units being installed in the first phase and two more similar units in the second phase.

The contracts for first phase plant construction were awarded to BHEL in 2018. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2022.

9. Shandong Shenglu Coal-Fired Power Project, China – 4,000MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Shandong Shenglu coal-fired power station will be installed with ultra-supercritical air-cooled units. Image courtesy of Shandong Energy Group.

The coal-fired Shandong Shenglu power project in China’s Inner Mongolia region has been under construction since 2016. The project is being built by Shenglu Power Company as part of the Shanghai Temple Coal Power Support Base Demonstration Project.

The plant is being built in two phases, with the first phase comprising two ultra-supercritical air-cooled units each rated at 1,000MW. Estimated to cost RMB6.5bn ($967m), the first phase features desulphurisation, denitrification and dust removal systems.

The first phase construction works are in the final stages and expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

8. Fujian Luoyuanwan Power Project, China – 4,000MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Fujian Luoyuanwan power project is being developed in the Lianjiang Kemen economic development zone of Lianjiang County, China. Image courtesy of Katy Warner.

The Fujian Luoyuanwan power project is also a coal-based power plant under construction since 2015 in the Lianjiang Kemen economic development zone in Lianjiang County, China. The project, which is approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, is being jointly developed by the Shenhua Energy Company and Henglian Group.

The RMB20bn ($2.97bn) project is being developed in two phases with two 1,000MW power plants developed during each phase. The power plant features ultra-supercritical thermal power generating units.

ZK-link Technologies supplied PLC intelligent lighting control system for the project. The power generated by the plant will be supplied to large companies in the region.

7. Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant Units 4, 5 and 6, South Korea – 4,200MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Shin Kori nuclear power facility features APR 1400 reactors for the units 3, 4, 5, and 6. Image courtesy of Korea Shin-Kori NPP.

Shin Kori, the second phase of the Kori nuclear power plant in South Korea, is planned to include a total of six reactors, out of which three were operational by 2016. Unit four will be commissioned in 2019, while the construction of units five and six is in progress.

Units four, five and six will add a gross capacity of 1,400MW each to the plant. The start-up of unit four was originally scheduled for 2017, but delayed due to the decision to implement additional safety tests and measures. The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) finally approved the start of operations at unit four in February 2019.

Shin Kori unit three features the first commercial APR 1400 reactor. The units five and six are planned to be operational in 2021 and 2022 respectively but expected to be delayed. Construction on the two units was halted briefly for three months from July 2017 but resumed in October the same year.

6. Dasu Hydropower Project, Pakistan – 4,320MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The first phase of Dasu hydropower project is being financed by the World Bank. Image courtesy of Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority.

The Dasu project is a run-of-river hydropower plant under construction since May 2015, on the Indus River in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province, Pakistan. Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan is the development authority for the project.

The project will include the construction of a roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam featuring an underground power station, which will house a total of 12 turbine units. Six units are being constructed during the $4.3bn first phase of the project, which runs from 2015 to 2022, with financial assistance from the World Bank. The remaining units will be installed during the second phase.

The contractors associated with the project are China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDCL), Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and Power China.

5. Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, United Arab Emirates – 5,600MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Barakah nuclear power facility will meet 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, upon commissioning. Image courtesy of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

The $32bn Barakah nuclear power plant (NPP) in the Al Dhafra region in Abu Dhabi will consist of four 1,400MW units that will generate enough electricity to meet approximately 25% of the UAE’s needs when fully operational. The plant will also offset 21 million tons of carbon emissions a year.

The plant is owned by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and being constructed by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). It has been under construction since 2012 and will be operated and maintained by Nawah Energy Company. KEPCO was awarded the $20bn prime contract to design, build and provide operational support for the project, in 2009.

Unit one of the Barakah NPP is expected to be operational by the end of 2019, while the remaining units are scheduled to be completed by 2020. All the units will feature the Advanced Power Reactor (APR) 1400 light water reactor supplied by KEPCO.

4. Leizhou Thermal Power Project, China – 6,000MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Leizhou thermal power project will feature six ultra-supercritical coal-fired units. Image courtesy of Tom A La Rue.

The 6,000MW Leizhou thermal power project has been under construction since 2015, in the Guangdong Province of China. Leizhou Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of Datang International Power Generation Company, is the owner of the project.

The coal-fired power plant will consist of six ultra-supercritical coal-fired units rated at 1,000MW each. Two 1,000MW units are being installed during the first phase of the project. A 100,000t coal unloading dock and a 3,000t heavy cargo dock are also being constructed.

The current project will replace small capacity units present at the site. The company plans to construct each of the new units in one year and ten months.

3. The Grand Renaissance Hydroelectric Project, Ethiopia – 6,450MW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Grand Renaissance hydroelectric project is considered as one of the biggest power projects in Africa. Image courtesy of Voith.

The Grand Renaissance Hydroelectric Project, also known as Millennium Project of Ethiopia, has been under construction on the Blue Nile River in Beneshangul Gumuz, Ethiopia, since April 2011. At the time of the launch, it aimed to increase Ethiopia’s power generation capacity by four times.

The RCC dam of the project will feed two underground powerhouses installed with 16 Francis turbine units rated at 375MW each. The civil contract works for the project are being carried out by Salini Costruttori Group, while Metals & Engineering Corporation (METEC) performed hydraulic and electromechanical works. Alstom and Tratos respectively provided turbines generators (eight units in the first phase) and cables.

The $5bn ambitious project, however, faced hurdles at various stages as the construction progressed. The Ethiopian Government revoked contracts awarded to METEC in August 2018 due to numerous work delays by the contractor. The project will produce 15,000GWh of electricity a year when completed.

2. Wudongde Hydropower Project, China – 10.2GW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Wudongde hydroelectric project is expected to generate first power by 2020. Image courtesy of China Three Gorges.

Under construction since 2015, the Wudongde hydroelectric project is located on the Jinsha River covering Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. It is part of China’s West-East power transmission project, which is aimed at transmitting energy to China’s eastern regions from western regions.

Jinsha River Yunchuan Hydropower Development Company is developing the RMB100bn ($15bn) project. China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) holds a majority share (70%) in the project, while the remaining 30% is equally shared by the Sichuan and Yunnan provincial governments.

The project will feature a double-curvature retaining arch dam and an underground power station housing a total of 12 Francis turbine units. The turbines generator units are being supplied by Voith Group and GE. The project is expected to generate first power in 2020.

1. Baihetan Hydropower Station, China – 16GW

The world’s biggest under-construction power plants
The Baihetan hydropower station will be the second largest power facility, upon commissioning in 2022. Image courtesy of China Three Gorges.

The Baihetan hydropower project, under construction since 2012 on the Jinsha River, will be the fourth Chinese hydroelectric power facility to produce more than 10GW after the Three Gorges Dam (18.2GW), the Xiluodu Hydropower Station (13.86GW), and the Wudong­de Hydropower Station (10.2GW).

The concrete double-curvature arch dam of the plant will house eight 1,000MW turbine generators in each of its right and left bank underground stations. China Yangtze Power Corporation is developing the project, while Dongfang Electric Machinery will supply the turbine generators in collaboration with China Three Gorges Corporation.

The megaproject features the world’s first 1,000MW turbine generator rotor, which was installed at the site in January 2019. The project is expected to be fully functional by December 2022.