Inner Mongolia's 'energy city' embraces wind and solar power development

(People's Daily Online) 10:46, July 19, 2023

Once known for its industries centered around "goat, coal, rare earth and natural gas," Inner Mongolia is now pivoting toward "wind and solar energy," according to Xu Ming, an executive of Inner Mongolia Tiansheng New Technology Co Ltd, while discussing the emerging photovoltaic module industry in Jungar Banner, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This transition has been supported by local government policies that encourage new energy equipment manufacturing.

The "Hello, Carbon Neutrality" research group, a People’s Daily Online initiative, recently toured Jungar Banner of Ordos city, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The group's visit to a mining factory revealed new developments in the "blue ocean of solar panels" within Inner Mongolia.

Within the solar module factory of Inner Mongolia Tiansheng New Technology Co Ltd, located in Jungar Banner's Dalu industrial park, clusters of photovoltaic panels shimmered in bright blue light. Xu Ming, who moved to Inner Mongolia from Jiangsu, expressed his enthusiasm for the construction and development of the new energy photovoltaic module factory in Inner Mongolia.

The interior of a solar module factory at Inner Mongolia Tiansheng New Technology Co Ltd. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

"In August 2022, our 2-gigawatt solar module production project officially commenced," Xu said. "With the 660W+ Supreme series components we manufactured, we achieved the first large-size component output in Inner Mongolia, which significantly boosts energy-saving and carbon reduction. This project also created approximately 500 jobs. We're inviting all sectors of society to adopt clean energy, while increasing public awareness of using clean energy, so as to contribute to a carbon-neutral future."

At Weijiamao Coal Power Co. Ltd., photovoltaic panels are strategically positioned atop the factory buildings. From the air, black coal, green trees, and blue panels merge, forming a striking composition.

Zhang Fei, deputy general manager of the company, shared that the Weijiamao open-pit coal mine was recognized as a National Green Mine at the end of 2020. "We’ve made use of available spaces like rooftops, slope protection areas, and the top of the coal handling gallery by installing photovoltaic panels."

In November 2021, North Weijiamao Coal Power Co. Ltd. installed a 6-megawatt rooftop photovoltaic system. The green electricity it generates powers electric truck charging stations and provides power within its coal mines. This project also established Inner Mongolia’s first "zero-carbon electric vehicle charging and battery swapping station using stored solar energy."

“Currently, 12 electric heavy trucks are powered by photovoltaic power generated by the plant,” Zhang said. “Our rooftop photovoltaic system can generate more than 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, saving more than 2,400 tonnes of standard coal. On the basis of a 25-year design life for a distributed photovoltaic power station, total power generation can reach about 200 million kilowatt-hours, saving 60,000 tonnes of standard coal and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 220,000 tonnes.”

The mobile battery sway station for heavy trucks in a factory of Weijiamao Coal Power Co., Ltd. (People’s Daily Online/Kou Yanan)

"This March, we received approval for a 600,000-kilowatt wind power project at Ordos' Kubuqi Desert Base. This will establish a diverse energy pattern that includes thermal, coal, photovoltaic, and wind power," Zhang added. "The company is promoting the integration of light power with agriculture and animal husbandry. We plan to construct 50,000 kilowatts of photovoltaic power stations in the reclamation area and foster an 'under the panel economy.' This includes investing in a modern agricultural farm for the joint cattle industry by towns, villages, and communities in Weijiaomao, with the goal of raising 10,000 heads of Angus cattle, thereby creating a modern, efficient, comprehensive agricultural economy."

With wind and solar energy exploitation, the once-black coal landscape is turning green, signaling a swift energy transition in Jungar Banner.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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