China completed construction of a 22.6 billion yuan ($3.17 billion) ultra-high voltage electricity line that for the first time will transport only clean energy.
It’s the first UHV line in the world built to transmit only carbon-free electricity, its developer, State Grid Corp. of China, said in a statement. It will allow more renewables to be developed in Qinghai and Gansu provinces and deliver the electricity all the way to Henan in central China.
China is promoting the technology, which allows long-haul transmission with little loss of power, to solve a vexing problem: Its energy resources are thousands of kilometers inland from its densely populated coastal regions.
Making this line available for only carbon-free sources can help China achieve two of its energy goals, boosting renewable energy consumption while reducing idle capacity, State Grid said. It could also drive more than 200 billion yuan and create almost 10,000 jobs in investments in renewables and other related industries, it said.
The long-haul lines are also part of China’s stimulus plan to revive its economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. UHV projects may account for 13 percent of $205 billion that’s likely to be spent by the nation this year on “new infrastructure,” according to BloombergNEF.
Prior to this latest addition, State Grid operated 19 UHV lines covering 27,570 kilometers (17,131 miles), and the utility was building another four of the links as of June last year, according to its website. The power networks are usually source-agnostic so they can transmit power from any type of generation, including coal and renewables.
The company expects to put the 1,587-kilometer line from Qinghai to Henan into full operation in December. The project is designed to transport 40 billion kilowatt-hours of clean power a year, it said.