A series of North Korean hydro power plants along the Chong Chon River are now operational, according to an article from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published Wednesday.
If accurate, the project would be the second North Korean hydro facility completed since the start of October.
“The 10 multi-tier power stations in the 80 km-long section of the River Chongchon would contribute to the building of an economic power and improvement of people’s living standard,” the KCNA article reads.
Like the Mount Paekdusan hydro plant, the new facilities’ completion was timed to roughly coincide with 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party last month.
However while the Paekdusan generator was under construction for more than 10 years, the 10 power plants along the Chong Chon River were only announced in December 2014.
“If the capacity is similar with the Huichon power station completed last time, the 10 stations would have quite a large power generating capacity. However, it’s quite hard to complete 10 stations in that little time,” Lee Seok-gi of the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade told NK News.
According to a report from the Tokyo-based Chosun Sinbo published late last year, the plants would generate between 120,000 and 300,000 kilowatts. The regime mobilized 14,000 people were mobilised to complete the project, which will reportedly send their output to Pyongyang.
The Chong Chon River runs from North Korea’s west coast and is under 70 km from the capital at its closest point.
In September Korean Central Television (KCTV) featured a report indicating the plants were being connected to North Korea’s electricity grid.
The broadcast showed teams adding pylons and infrastructure through North Korea’s Huichon region.
“Building pylons usually comes at the later step after the generator construction, the generator turbines are the priorities,” Lee said at the time.
North Korea struggles with generating electricity, and is generally reliant on soviet era coal power plants and hydroelectric generators for the majority of its energy needs. A recent NK News investigation indicated that power outages in North Korea had become more common in recent years.
Additional reporting by Hyunbi Park
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun