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China starts $3.9bn project to bring green power from remote northwest

China is struggling to keep up with power demand in its industrial economy. As well as renewables, more than 10GW is generated from waste-to-energy, like this plant in Wuhan (Constellationevolution/CC BY 3.0)
China’s State Grid Corporation has started a $3.9bn project to boost the ability of its national grid to deal with intermittent generation.

It will string a 1,069km ultra-high voltage transmission line from the sparsely populated Shaanxi province in the far northwest to the city of Hefei in Anhui province, about 150km west of Shanghai, Bloomberg reports.

This will bring wind and solar energy to population centres, and will be connected to a 1.2GW pumped hydro site that will store surplus electricity.

The 800kV line will accommodate an increasing amount of wind and solar energy. Last year, almost 220GW of solar and 75GW of wind capacity was added.

This is 50GW more than the entire installed capacity of Germany, and brought the share of wind and solar in the Chinese energy mix to 50%.

Despite these advances, China remains reliant on coal-fired power stations, and last year opened enough of them to generate almost 50GW.

And despite its rapidly growing generating capacity, China’s power system is struggling to keep up with demand.

Last year, there were no large-scale power cuts, but periodic power shortages were experienced in the eastern provinces.

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