The Chinese government is planning to build eight new hydropower plants on the Lancang river over the next 30 years. The first of these, the Dachao Mountain station, is under construction. This 1350 MW power station is due to be completed in 2003.

Preparations are underway for a further two 1000 MW plants. Construction is expected to start in 2000.

The development of the full hydropower potential of the river, which is estimated to be around more than 100 TWh each year, could benefit neighbouring countries as well as China.