The nation's biggest electricity distributor, the State Grid Corp of China, plans to begin building the country's first ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission line this month.
The State Grid pilot project will see 1,000 kilovolts of alternating current linking the southeastern parts of coal-rich Shanxi Province with Jingmen city in energy-guzzling Hubei Province, by-passing Nanyang city in Central China's Henan Province.
"The project has got final approval from the government, and we expect to start construction very soon hopefully within the month," Li Qiang, director of the Beijing-based power firm's news centre, told reporters yesterday.
The new line is part of the country's ambitious scheme to connect its resource-abundant west with the energy-intensive east, to improve resource allocation and ensure stable energy supply, analysts said.
Liu Zhaoshao, the State Grid's chief economist, said last month that the pilot transmission line would be 654 kilometers long.
"It (the new transmission line) will be a huge investment," Li said yesterday, without disclosing the exact figure.
The State Grid has budgeted a total of 1 trillion yuan (US$125 billion) by 2010 on expanding and upgrading the nation's electricity transmission network. "That means an annual expenditure of 200 billion yuan (US$25 billion) needs to be shelled out, doubling the figure over the past five years," the State-owned company said in a statement.
Besides the Shanxi-Hubei pilot project, more ultra-high voltage lines at more than 800 kilovolts are planned, Li said. Those lines will send power from the country's major electricity bases, which are fuelled by hydro, nuclear and coal sources.
The State Grid yesterday announced its results for the first six months. It sold 12 percent more electricity at 798.3 billion kilowatt-hours in the first half of this year, and profits increased by 28 percent to reach 8.97 billion yuan (US$1.12 billion).
(China Daily July 19, 2006)