China begins longest energy transmission project in world

16:37, July 30, 2010      

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The transmission and conversion project started construction simultaneously on July 29,
both in Golmud City of Qinghai Province and Lhasa City of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The world's longest and the most difficult electricity transmission and conversion project, located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the "Roof of the World," began construction on July 29.

Li Keqiang, vice premier of the State Council, sent letters of congratulation.

This feat marks another significant step for China's western development strategy and the improvement of grid infrastructure in western regions, said Li Keqiang.

The transmission and conversion project, dubbed "Heaven Road" by China’s domestic media, started construction simultaneously yesterday both in Golmud City of Qinghai Province and Lhasa City of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The electricity networking project starts from Xining, the capital city of the Qinghai Province, and stretches to Lhasa, with an average elevation of 4,650 meters.

Heaven Road has a total length of 1,774 kilometers, including around 565 kilometers running through year-round permafrost, which complicates construction and involves more than 16 billion yuan dynamic total investment. It is expected to go into operation in the year 2012.

This project consists of two main electricity networks, including the 750 kilovolts alternating current networking project running through the Xining-Riyue Mountain-Wulan-Golmud route and the 400 kilovolts direct current networking project through the Golmud-Lhasa route, together with other auxiliary projects.

As a main artery for energy transmission that connects Tibet Autonomous Region with other resource-rich parts of China, the project will solve the serious electricity shortage during the winter dry season in Tibet and provide strong energy security for its rapid economic and social development.

Meanwhile, this project is also capable of convoying surplus water in central Tibet to the Qinghai grid network to translate hydropower resources into economic benefits during the summer period.

According to the State Grid Corporation of China, the transmitted electricity volume through this project will reach up to 4 billion kilovolts in the first three years after completion, saving 1.4 million tons of standard coal and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 3.6 million tons.

Author:Ran Yongping, Zhou Dongping, Zhang Haitao, Zhang Fan, People’s Daily, July 30,2010. Editor: Li Mu
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