China Power Investment, the ultimate parent of Hong Kong-listed China Power International Development, has received approval to build a 7.39 billion yuan hydro project in Guangxi province as part of a plan to more than double hydro-power generation capacity by 2010. The company, one of the mainland's five state-owned power groups that together own about 35 per cent of the country's generation capacity, will build the project through its Guangxi Changzhou Hydropower Development unit. It will have generation capacity of 630 megawatts and can generate 3.09 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, according to a statement by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. The first generation unit will be come on stream next year and the entire project in 2009. China Power Investment president Wang Binghua told an industry conference last month that the group planned to raise its hydro-power capacity to 17,000MW by 2010 from 8,000MW last year. Hydros account for 25 per cent of the group's generation capacity. Listed China Power International has no hydro project. To curb soaring emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants that cause acid rain, the central government has targeted to raise the contribution of clean or renewable energy to total energy consumption to 10 per cent by 2010 and 16 per cent by 2020, from 6 per cent this year. It also plans to require the five power groups to generate at least 5 per cent of its output from clean and renewable sources by 2010 and 10 per cent by 2020. The efficiency of hydro projects is highly dependent on the climate. Dry weather this year, especially in the water-rich southwestern region, saw average utilisation of hydros fall 5.2 per cent year on year to 2,665 hours in the first nine months of this year. This compares with a 4.43 per cent decline in the utilisation of all power plants in the same period. China has 401,790MW of economically exploitable hydro-power capacity, according to the China Society for Hydropower Engineering. The country's generation capacity is expected to increase to about 590,000MW by the end of the month, from 513,000MW at the end of last year - of which 22.8 per cent was hydro-power capacity.