The tariff for power produced by the Three Gorges hydroelectric project has been set at Yn0.25 per kilowatt-hour. The rate, which excludes a transmission fee of more than Yn0.10, is similar to levels charged by coalfired plants. The project is expected to start generating electricity in 2003, although it will not be completed until 2009. The entire project is now expected to cost US$21.7bn, some US$2.4bn less than recent estimates, according to the China Yangtae River Three Groges Development Corporation.
However, the dam itself will add to environmental costs, according to China Daily, because the Yangtze's self-cleaning capacity will be reduced by the reservoir's slower water flow. Partly in response to this problem, the Ministry of Water Resources said Yn39.2bn would be spent during the next seven years on efforts to clean up the river.