The State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) yesterday signed deals with nine suppliers to equip its first ultra-high voltage transmission line linking Sichuan Province with Shanghai.
The nine include seven local power equipment makers - China XD Group, XJ Group Corp, TBEA Co Ltd, Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric Co Ltd, Beijing Power Equipment Group, Nanjing Nari-Relays Electric Co Ltd and Beijing Wanglian HVDC Engineering Technology Co Ltd.
ABB and Siemens will also provide equipment to the power project.
"These deals will further boost the equipment manufacturing industry in China, especially in the power sector," said Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation's top planning body.
The 800-kilovolt (KV) ultra-high voltage (UHV) direct current (DC) power transmission line pilot project will be the world's largest in terms of capacity and reach, according to the SGCC.
The line will transmit electricity produced by the Xiangjiaba hydropower station and the Xiluodu station on the Jinsha River in Sichuan to the eastern provinces.
Construction of the two hydropower stations began in 2005 and 2006. Their combined installed capacity is bigger than that of the Three Gorges project.
The SGCC began work on its first 1,000-KV UHV alternating current (AC) power transmission line last year. That project is expected to be finished next year.
The AC power line will run 600 km across the Yellow and Hanjiang rivers and will transmit electricity produced in Shanxi Province, China's largest coal base, to Nanyang in Henan Province, and then to Jingmen in Hubei Province.
The two new UHV grids will make it possible to transmit an adequate power supply over long distances.
But since UHV grids have not been developed elsewhere in the world on this scale, there's been heated debate about whether to go ahead with the projects.
The projects were approved as the government tries to find a way to meet the demand of the energy-thirsty eastern and central regions by transmitting power from the country's energy-rich western and northern areas.
Power consumption in China has increased by more than 10 percent annually in the past five years, said Zhang from the NDRC.
By the end of 2006 the nation's total installed power capacity was 622 gigawatts (GW). That capacity is expected to reach 700 GW this year, he said.