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Power Grid Gears Up for Summer Spikes

North China Grid Company Ltd (NCGC), a major subsidiary of the State Grid Corp of China, is in full gear to secure power supplies as summer spikes in electricity demand impact the fast-expanding Beijing economy.

The company, the electricity distributor for 230 million people across 1.63 million square kilometers in North China, predicts the largest spike in electricity demand in its grid will hit 78.8 million kilowatts this peak periods, up 19.5 percent year-on-year.

During the most severe power shortfall, the region could be some 6.85 million kilowatts under its energy needs, according to the estimate. "We are undergoing the most severe power supply situation in the North China grid compared to other regional grids across the nation," Liu Yongqi, director of North China Power Dispatching Bureau told reporters yesterday during a news conference.

The first demand peak in the North China grid came on June 23 when a heat wave struck, spiking to 72.1 million kilowatts.

By the end of April, all five sub provincial-level grids have suffered from brownouts, spanning across Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and the western part of Inner Mongolia.

According to Liu, users in the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan area consumed almost half of the electricity supplied for North China, and Beijing alone bites into half electricity demand in the tri-angle region cantering on the capital city.

In a move to secure power supplies for the northern region and, more important, for the capital city, a raft of measures to expand supplies and demand reductions have both been adopted, the grid company said.

"A total of 4.6 million kilowatts of installed capacity, or eight power generation units, will be added in Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Hebei," said Cui Jifeng, vice-president of NCGC.

In addition, at least 2.5 million kilovolt-amperes of electricity transformer facilities have been finished to expand the supply capacity from the power-rich areas such as Inner Mongolia and Shanxi to Beijing in the first half of the year, in preparations for summer peaks, according to Liu.

Twenty-four 500-kilovolt transmission projects will start construction within the year to scale up capacity and are scheduled to commence operations in a couple of years, the company said.

(China Daily July 5, 2005)

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