China is seeking to develop the Hexi Corridor, part of the ancient Northern Silk Road that lies inside China, into a demonstration zone for renewable energy in a move to lessen its dependence on foreign oil and gas.
“Evolving the Hexi Corridor in Gansu province into one of China’s important large demonstration bases for realizing the production, processing and conversion of renewable energies has great significance as it rapidly industrializes and plays a role in providing China with dependable energy sources”, said Ma Guangming, Secretary of Jiuquan Municipal Party Committee and a member of the National People's Congress.
Gansu province is rich in renewable energy resources, with enough wind to potentially provide 80 GW of capacity, most from the Hexi Corridor. The average annual effective wind power density in the area is upwards of 150 W/m2, while the duration of effective wind speed exceeds 6,000 hours per year. Gansu has unique and superior geographical, climate, and transportation conditions for the establishment of large scale wind farms when compared to China’s other provinces and cities.
In Jiuquan province, the preliminary work on the second-phase of its 8-GW initiative is now underway, which is in line with the directives of the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration. Construction for the first 3 GW of wind farms is expected to start in the first half of the year and completed and put into production by year-end. By 2015, total wind power installation capacity in Jiuquan is slated to top 14 GW. In addition, the province has also planned a number of supporting facilities, including pumped storage power stations and peaking power plants (used during peak hours), all of which to be completed during the 12th five year period spanning 2011 to 2015.
Jiuquan is also now planning a large 650-MW wind power transmission project. Gansu Electric Power Design Institute of the China Energy Engineering Group is undertaking the project and has already sailed through design and planning review by the Gansu Electric Power Corporation of State Grid in early 2011. The project’s transmission system, which covers 14 wind farms from China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, China Datang Corporation, Huaneng Renewables Corporation, China Power International New Energy Holding Ltd. and other domestic key industry players, passed first-stage review last September and is currently under second-stage review.
In addition, Jiuquan’s New Energy Equipment Manufacturing Industrial Park attracted 35 domestic major renewable energy equipment providers; 17 have an output value of over 100 million yuan (approx. US$16 million). The park has become the largest of its kind in the country. As of the end of last year, Jiuquan’s wind power equipment manufacturing sector recorded 43.2 billion yuan (approx. US$6.80 billion) in sales revenue, becoming a new driver of local economic growth.
Image: yanqiu via Shutterstock