Across China: Northwest sends more green electricity to power-hungry east
YINCHUAN, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Ma Yuhui gets up early in the morning these days to check the safety condition of power towers in a desert area in Shapotou District of Zhongwei City in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
He takes advantage of the cool air in the morning as by noon the temperature can reach over 45 degrees Celsius in the desert, where many power towers belonging to an ultra-high voltage power line that sends electricity to the eastern province of Zhejiang stand.
Ma climbs at least six 50-meter towers and works on them for hours on end under the intense heat. This is a regular day for Ma, who is in his early 20s, and hundreds of his workmates at a maintenance company under the State Grid Ningxia Branch.
Ma's work is twice as important during the summer, as electricity consumption since last month has surged in many parts of China, especially in the eastern provinces, which are experiencing an intense heatwave.
As a consequence, Ningxia's grid is experiencing an unprecedented peak in demand. On July 9, it supplied 355 million kWh of electricity on a single day, up 7.3 percent from the same day last year.
One power supply line from here to eastern Shandong province is sending an average of 100 million kWh per day, while the rest are being sent via another line to Zhejiang and smaller lines within the region, said the State Grid.
In China, the natural resources-rich western regions have taken on the role of major power supplier to the more economically advanced eastern provinces in a nationwide coordinated power system.
The western regions used to rely on coal to supply eastern provinces with electricity, but in recent years, green power has been catching up with coal.
"Ningxia is building a demonstration zone for new energy comprehensive construction, which has been given additional importance by the region's role as a major supplier of power to eastern provinces," said Hai Tao, an official at the Ningxia development and reform commission, the region's top economic planner.
In the first half of the year, green energy, including hydrogen, solar and wind energy, made up 25.6 percent of all the 73.5 billion kWh of power supplied by Ningxia.
Hai said that with growing investment in clean energy, the installed capacity of green power in Ningxia increased from 850,000 kilowatts to 25.74 million kilowatts over the past decade, about 40 percent of the total installed capacity.
"A third ultra-high voltage power line is being built to send electricity from here to Hunan Province in central China. It will have a 50 percent green energy share," said Yan Zhibin, a senior engineer at the State Grid Ningxia branch.