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Xinjiang to further tap renewables

By ZHENG XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-25 09:16

State Grid employees check equipment at a power station in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Nov 9. SONG RONGXIN/XINHUA

Autonomous region transforms advantages in clean resources into economic momentum

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region vows to further tap the potential of its vast renewable energy resources to ensure sufficient power supply in the country while transforming its local resources advantage into an economic advantage.

The region has transmitted more than 103.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to other parts of the country during the first 10 months, up 1.43 percent year-on-year, according to State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Co Ltd.

Rich in solar, wind and hydropower resources, the region saw power generated by renewable energy reach 29.66 billion kWh, up 10.26 percent year-on-year. It accounts for more than 30 percent of its total power transmitted to other parts of the country during the first three quarters, said the Xinjiang branch of State Grid Corp of China, the country's largest State-owned utility company.

The corporation has also been accelerating domestic grid network construction this year with a focus on ultrahigh-voltage power transmission networks, an attempt to further ensure power supply stability and boost green power consumption in the country.

The company said earlier that it invested 473 billion yuan ($66.24 billion) last year in grid network infrastructure after investing 460.5 billion yuan in 2020. In all, it plans to invest 2.23 trillion yuan in grid network construction during the 2021-25 period.

The corporation also plans to kick off 13 ultrahigh-voltage lines this year as part of the company's five-year plan to upgrade its domestic grid network, comprising 38 ultrahigh-voltage lines with a total investment of 380 billion yuan and covering more than 30,000 kilometers.

Boosted by the strong support of the grid network and flexible power trade, the energy industry in Xinjiang has been thriving in recent years. The newly installed capacity of the Xinjiang power grid during the first nine months has exceeded 3.04 million kilowatts, including 771,900 kW of wind power, 549,100 kW of solar power and 234,000 kW of hydropower, said the Xinjiang branch.

The region's installed capacity rose to 110.98 million kW by the end of September, up 5.31 percent compared with the same period the previous year. The installed capacity of new energy rose to 38.17 million kW, accounting for 34.39 of the region's total installed capacity, ranking fifth nationwide, it said.

With abundant wind and solar resources, Xinjiang has been a pioneer in using new energy with a surge in electricity generated from clean energy in recent years. It laid out 188 renewable energy projects by September, with a total installed capacity of 58.72 million kW. The region currently transmits electricity to 20 other Chinese provincial regions.

An analyst said the clean power from Xinjiang has ensured the power supply in the country during the first three quarters, especially during the summer when electricity demand is high.

Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute, said, "Chances are high that more green power will be transmitted and the technology of ultrahigh voltage power transmission will play a key role, as green power in China's solar and wind-rich regions is expected to increase on a large scale in the future."

"Long-distance power transmission plays a key role in the country in securing sufficient power supply as supply and demand in China are not evenly distributed," he said.

Total reserves of wind energy resources in Xinjiang are estimated at around 890 million kW and the exploitable amount of wind energy resources accounts for 15.4 percent of the country's total. The exploitable amount of solar energy resources accounts for 40 percent of the country's total, ranking tops worldwide, said local authorities.

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