China laid the foundations of an experimental project involving Ultra High Voltage (UHV) grids in the north, marking the country's first move toward long-distance power transmission through 1,000-kilovolt alternating grids.
At a ceremony held in Changzhi city of North China's Shanxi Province on Saturday, Liu Zhenya, general manager of the State Grid Corporation, operator of the project, said that developing UHV grids will help China to more properly distribute its natural resources.
The project, measuring 653.8 kilometers in length and running across the Yellow River and the Hanjiang River, will transmit power produced in Shanxi Province, China's largest coal base to Nanyang City in Central China's Henan Province and then to Jingmen City in Central China's Hubei Province.
With a planned investment of 5.7 billion yuan (US$713 million), the grid is designed to have a rated voltage of 1,000-kv, a maximum operational voltage of 1,100 kv and a transmission power of 5 million kw.
Over two-thirds of China's water resources are distributed in West China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and over two-thirds of the coal resources are found in North China's Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.
East and South China have the lowest reserves of energy and other natural resources. But as they boast the most rapid economic growth, they have the highest demand for energy.
The UHV grids maintain alternating currents at 1,000 kv, or direct currents of 800 kv.
However, this is the world's first experimental UHV grid and is a topic that is still hotly debated.
Japan and Russia have both built 1,000-kv alternating power grids, but only for short-distance transmission.
The Chinese government approved of the experimental project because it was a step toward finding a way to feed the demands of energy-thirsty East and Central China by transmitting power from energy-rich West and North China.
Liu Zhaoshao, Chief Economist of the State Grid, told Xinhua earlier that if successful, the State Grid is also planning to build more UHV grids transmitting power from big coal-fired power or hydropower generators to electricity-thirsty regions. It aims to construct a power grid that covers North and East China by 2020.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2006)