Tibet is expected to be buoyed by the region’s endeavors to tap its rich hydropower and solar power resources, according to local officials.
The region, short of coal and oil resources, is to build two “backbone" hydropower plants, with a combined installed capacity of 160,000 kw, by 2005 in eastern and central Tibet, said Rong Wei, a senior official from the region’s power department.
The two hydropower plants, located in Modrogongkar and Chamdu, will absorb a total investment of up to 1.8 billion yuan (US$217 million), Rong said.
By 2005, the total installed capacity of power plants in the region is expected to reach over 500,000 kw, from its current level of 360,000 kw. Most of the capacity comes from hydropower.
According to Lu Meijian, also from the power department, Tibet is “actively lobbying the central government to build two more hydropower plants, with a combined capacity of 46,000 kw, in Nyingchi and Ari in five years.”
Investment in power plants is expected to reach 1.3 billion yuan (US$157 million) in the coming years.
Lu said the region would embark on a stringent geological survey before construction got underway to avoid landslides and to ensure vegetation is not destroyed during the construction phase.
Wang Shaoting, a general engineer with the department, said the construction of dams and hydropower plants will help stop floods and improve local irrigation.
The region has decided to rely on its hydropower resources to help cope with power demand in its populous areas, “but it is unreasonable to think that electricity can be supplied all over Tibet by several large hydropower plants,” said Geng Zhanxiu, director of the Tibet science and technology department.
Tibet’s mountainous region is the least densely populated area in China, and it is difficult to transmit power to the area.
To solve the problem, the central government will invest 3 million yuan (US$363,000) every year to fund household solar power generators for over 2,000 families in villages and meadows, to satisfy their electricity needs, Geng said.
(China Daily 05/23/2001)