Jungar Banner leads Inner Mongolia's shift to low-carbon future

(People's Daily Online) 11:10, August 03, 2023

The "Hello, Carbon Neutrality" research group visits Jungar Banner, Ordos city, Inner Mongolia. (Photo/Li Meng)

As a major energy base in China, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region not only ensures national energy security, but also carries the responsibility of green transformation. Jungar Banner, part of Ordos city, is abundantly endowed with coal. Leveraging this resource, in 2022, Jungar Banner's GDP surpassed 130 billion yuan ($18 billion), ranking first in Inner Mongolia.

With steady advancements in traditional industries and the emergence of new ones, Jungar Banner stands at a pivotal crossroads of energy and industrial transformation.

The "Hello, Carbon Neutrality" research group, composed of international experts, students, and media reporters, visited this large energy county in June to understand Inner Mongolia's "dual carbon" initiatives.

"Things here are quite surprising, as burning coal can be environmentally friendly," Harri Calum Dewi, a British student from Beijing Foreign Studies University, said after visiting Inner Mongolia JiuTai Advanced Materials Technology Co., Ltd. "I used to think coal factories could only pollute the environment. Yet by improving the technological process, the factory here takes advantage of the emitted carbon dioxide for further use and thus realizes greed production, which is really amazing."

Pascoal Manuel Calunga, an Angolan student at Huaqiao University, said, "Coal simplifies people's lives, and more importantly, its production is environmentally friendly and low-carbon, which is surprising and unexpected.”

The "Hello, Carbon Neutrality" research group visits JiuTai. (People's Daily Online/Liu Yilin)

Significant changes have occurred in the areas surrounding Jungar Banner's coal mines. Upon entering North Weijiamao Coal Power Co., Ltd., the lush greenery strikingly contrasts with the rows of photovoltaic (PV) panels lining the factory roof.

"Green electricity is mainly used within the factory. As open-cut mines are constantly moving and need to be excavated, filled, moved and excavated again, mobile power stations are much more flexible and efficient than fixed ones," explained Zhang Fei, deputy general manager of North Weijiamao Coal Power.

"It's amazing how fast a huge mining truck can change its battery in only five minutes," Fanny Pittemans, a reporter with People's Daily Online said. "During the visit, I felt that in China, in Inner Mongolia, rooftop PV panels and green mines are becoming more and more common.”

British student Harri Calum Dewi gives an interview at Weijiamao Coal Power Co., Ltd. (People's Daily Online/Kou Yanan)

The once dusty open-cut mine of Zhuneng Group has now transformed into an ecological park, filled with lush vegetation. "It is really hard to imagine that such an industry can be so environmentally friendly," said Dewi, commenting on the impressive efforts by local coal mining companies.

Fanny Pittemans with People's Daily Online is interviewed at the national mine park of Zhuneng Group. (People's Daily Online/Kou Yanan)

"I always felt that coal mining and environmental protection were opposites, but the two integrate well here. Environmental protection methods are becoming more modern in Inner Mongolia, where companies are paying more attention to carbon reduction," said Calunga.

Harri Calum Dewi attempts to drive a "retired" mining truck. (People's Daily Online/Kou Yanan)

Jungar Banner is rapidly moving away from its longstanding reliance on coal mining and venturing into new energy development. Xu Ming, head of Trina Solar Inner Mongolia Tiansheng New Technology Co., Ltd., said that while Inner Mongolia's strengths traditionally lay in "goat, coal, rare earth and natural gas," the region is now committed to wind and solar energy. For example, the local government has launched policies to bolster the new energy equipment manufacturing industry, leading to the establishment of a PV module factory in the area.

"Through the introduction, I also learned that Trina Solar not only serves China's domestic industry, they are also very international, with its industrial layout in Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries along the Belt and Road," added Calunga. "I think it's great to not only develop at home but also share these advantages abroad."

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Du Mingming)


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