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China Connects Power Grids Together, Expands Coverage

January 11, 2006 - Zijun Li

Worldwatch Institute site logoChina's economy grew by an average of 9.9 percent between 1993 and 2004, accelerating the demand for electricity and necessitating expansion of the country's disperse power transmission and distribution network.

In 2005, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the nation's largest power grid builder, invested a total of 9.21 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion) in grid construction and transmission lines, according to ChinaNews. China's overall electricity transmission capacity is 62.3 million kilowatts, with power lines covering a total of 12,333 kilometers.

Over the past year, China has linked together six major regional grids to boost its electricity transmission capacity, enabling adjustments in power load among the different regional networks. The SGCC completed grid-connection projects in the northwestern and central regions in July 2005, adding to the existing linkages among the five grids in the northeastern, northern, central, eastern, and southern regions. Completion of the projects has expedited power transmission from China's resource-rich west to the energy-hungry east, optimizing the distribution and use of existing power resources.

Construction of high-voltage electricity networks has accelerated as well. China's highest-voltage transmission lines were put into operation in October 2005, linking Qinghai Province with Gansu Province in the northwest. By January 4, the lines had transmitted a total of 250 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, after operating smoothly for 100 days.

China's 2006-2010 plan for state grid expansion will focus mainly on the construction of more extra-high-tension power grids, of 750-kilovolts or higher. SGCC plans to significantly expand existing 750-kilovolt lines in the west to 4,730 kilometers by 2010. In addition, the central government is planning a demonstration project for one 1,000-kilovolt and several 800-kilovolt transmission lines by 2010, to cover more regions with rising demand for electrical power.