Construction began last month on two ultra-high voltage power transmission (UHVT) lines that will transfer 750 kV ultra high voltage DC current generated by thermal plants and renewable energy fields in Xinjiang province. The two lines will have a total transmission capacity of 10 GW, and will link central China with the eastern part of China: One from Hami to Zhengzhou in Henan province, and the other from Xinjiang province’s main grid to the main grid in South Western China.
The distribution of power resources is very unbalanced in China. For example, western provinces such as Xinjiang own rich thermal coal and renewable resources. But their power consumption is low compared with eastern provinces, such as Jiangsu and Shanghai, where demand far outstrips generation capacity. Under these circumstances, efficient power transmission is critical.
The Hami-Zhengzhou line with an electricity transmission capacity of 8 GW is slated for completion by the end of 2014, and will link the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Henan. The entire line is 2,210 kilometers with a planned investment of RMB 23.39 billion. The Xinjiang-Northwestern China line is planned to be finished in 2013, and will become one of the backbones of the main grid in Northwestern China. The planned investment of this line is around 9.56 billion RMB.
The construction of these UHVT lines indicates the start of China’s “Electricity transmission from Western to Eastern program.” Together they will be able to transfer 165 TWh electricity per year. The government believes that building thermal plants and generating electricity locally is more economically efficient and a better long-term solution when compared to the cost of transporting thermal coal to Eastern China. Also, importantly, such lines can only help to relieve air pollution in Eastern China.
Estimates project that indirect investments pulled by the two UHVT lines will reach RMB 300 billion, help employ 60,000 and increase Xinjiang’s GDP by 1.5%. Further, completion of the UHVT lines will generate greater demand on wind power and solar power, while easing the ability of renewable power-generating companies to sell power to the grid. It is expected that more tenders will be conducted for wind power projects in Xinjiang and other areas in Western China in upcoming years. Growing wind power capacity in Western China will benefit leading wind contractors in the area, such as Gold Wind and Sinovel, and fuel growth for suppliers who target them.