Soon, the neon lights of the Bund may run off electricity sent to Shanghai all the way from the Mongolian north.
China is in the process of building three new ultra-high voltage (UHV) power lines to connect Shanghai to Huainan, in Anhui province, and Xilingol, in Inner Mongolia.
The State Grid Corporation began the building in January after the successful completion of the first UHV power line, which linked the southeastern part of Shanxi Province to Jingmen City of Hubei Province. They’re hoping to have the three new lines finished by 2010.
UHV power lines, which have a voltage of over 1000 KV alternating current or 800 KV direct current, are an efficient way of transporting high levels of electricity across huge distances. Though the technology is decades old and was originally experimented with in the Soviet Union, it has only recently become economically viable.
China, with its growing energy needs and the immense distances between its power-generating and power-consuming regions, is badly in need of such technology. While the demand for energy is overwhelmingly concentrated in the big cities of central and eastern China, 76 percent of coal reserves and 80 percent of hydropower is generated in the far north or west, according to The China Daily.
But the rest of the world is watching too. A recent Wall Street Journal article that discussed China’s UHV power project mentioned the potential for similar power lines in India and Russia, which also have problems with conventional transmission lines.
Last week, a spokesman for China’s State Grid Corporation announced to Xinhua that China has become the world’s leader in UHV technology. While his announcement isn’t exactly an unbiased assessment, it does look like China’s new power project could become a model for countries dealing with energy shortage around the world.
Photo by Xinhua.