The first phase of a renewable energy project in the Tengger Desert in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region is expected to generate 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours each year. (PHOTO / CHINA NEWS SERVICE)
A renewable energy power project, one of the many being set up in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions, became the first to be connected to the electricity grid and started generating power on Tuesday, said its operator China Energy Investment Corp, or China Energy.
The first phase of the solar and wind project, located in the Tengger Desert in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region — with an installed capacity of 1 million kilowatts — is expected to generate 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours each year, equivalent to the power demand of 1.5 million households, said the company.
It is also the country's first ultrahigh-voltage power transmission channel and a major project transmitting green power generated in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions to Central China's Hunan province, it said.
The project, with total investment of more than 85 billion yuan ($12.28 billion) and total installed capacity of 13 million kW, is the country's first in response to government ambitions to speed up construction of solar and wind power generation facilities in the Gobi and other parched regions amid efforts to boost renewable energy.
As China plans to speed up construction of solar and wind power generation facilities in dry regions amid efforts to boost renewable power, the government launched the first phase of its wind and solar power projects at the end of 2021, comprising a total of 100 gigawatts of wind and solar power capacity in desert areas.
Wang Dapeng, deputy head of the new energy and renewable energy department at the National Energy Administration, said the government will further step up construction of wind and solar projects in the Gobi and other desert regions to further facilitate the country's green transition.
The first phase of wind and solar power projects in such arid areas is expected to be connected to grid and put into operation by the end of this year, Wang said.
The NEA said installed capacity of renewable energy in China continued to expand in the first quarter, reaching 47.4 million kW, an increase of 86.5 percent compared with the same period last year, and accounting for 80.3 percent of total newly added installed capacity.
The newly added installed capacity of wind power rose to 10.4 million kW while that of solar power rose to 33.66 million kW, it said.
In the first quarter, China's total installed capacity of renewable energy reached 1.26 billion kW, including 376 million kW of wind power and 425 million kW of photovoltaic power.
Power generated from renewable energy has also been continuously increasing, with national electricity generation from renewable energy reaching 594.7 billion kWh, an increase of 11.4 percent year-on-year, including 342.2 billion kWh of wind and solar power, up 27.8 percent year-on-year, it said.
An analyst said regions like Ningxia, as well as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, will play a key role in boosting the proportion of clean power in the country's energy mix while helping the country achieve its sustainable energy ambitions, thanks to abundant wind and solar resources.
The regions used to rely on heavy consumption of traditional energy resources for economic growth. The government's plan to build massive wind and solar power facilities in the country's desert areas will help them upgrade to a new energy-based structure, said Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute.
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