West-to-East Electricity Project Beneficial

China’s campaign of western development has ushered in golden opportunities for the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as it has been designated one of the major suppliers to the west-to-east electricity project, one of the giant projects of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05).

The project aims to exploit the western region’s rich resources to provide energy support not only for local economic development, but also for that in eastern provinces. Upon completion, it will help improve people’s livelihood by a large margin, Yang Daoxi, assistant governor of Guangxi and head of the Guangxi Planning and Development Commission, told the China Internet Information Center during an exclusive interview.

Guangxi, in southwest of the country, is a multi-ethnic region, with an area of 236,000 sq km traversed by many large rivers. The region has abundant water resources with a potential power generation capacity of 17 million kw. For example, by the Hongshui River stands a large terraced water power plant, which now generates 4 million kw per year. In addition, Guangxi will exploit its natural gas for power generation.

During the 10th Five-Year Plan period, Guangxi will complete a power installation of 9 million kw, generate 3 million kw and provide 1.5-2 million kw to its eastern neighbor, Guangdong Province, where power generation has lagged far behind economic and social development.

To achieve the goal, construction will start in 2001 on four major power stations in Guangxi: Longtan Power Station, second only to the Three-Gorge Project in terms of installation capacity, Baise, Etan and Pingban power stations. It is unprecedented for this relatively poor region to begin the construction of four large hydropower stations within one year.

Yang said that, so far, construction funds had been guaranteed from three major channels including central government treasury bonds for western development, favorable bank loans, and funds raised from related local sectors.

Through the project, Guangxi can make full of its advantageous water resources, help local residents escape from poverty and increase their income, fuel local economic growth, and increase government revenue. It will also improve the local ecological environment, building up its anti-flood capacity, and improve irrigation.

Yang said that the project not only benefits the western region, but also provides clean energy for other parts of China, like Guangdong. With low generation cost, many enterprises in Guangdong will see their production costs fall. It will also boost regional economic development and cooperation since Guangxi links east and west.

Yang said attention was being paid not only to the project’s construction, but also to its administration, as Guangxi would employ updated technology and adopt the modern corporate management system for its long-term development.

(CIIC by Guo Xiaohong 03/07/2001)