Landmark power line ends Tibet plateau's blackouts
Mar 8, 2012 - news.xinhuanet.com
Residents on China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have bid farewell to winter blackouts, once a common occurrence in Tibet, thanks to a new power line.
The amount of kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity transmitted by the Qinghai-Tibet power line to southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region since it began trial operation on Nov. 11 has passed 200 million, sources with the Qinghai branch of the State Grid said Thursday.
The power line, which runs from Xining, capital of northwestern Qinghai province, to Lhasa, is part of a 16.2-billion-yuan (2.54 billion U.S. dollars) project launched in 2010.
The project consists of transmission lines from Xining to Golmud, and Golmud to Lhasa, as well as a wide range of power grid facilities in Tibet.
It was designed to connect the isolated electricity network in Tibet with the rest of the country to help the plateau region meet its power demand, said Wang Hongliang, an official with the Qinghai Electric Power Company, a branch of the State Grid.
Thanks to the new line, winter power shortages would become part of Tibet's history, according to Wang. "For the first time, Tibetans celebrated their New Year's Day without blackouts," he said.
Tibetan New Year's Day fell on Feb. 22 this year.
According to statistics provided by the Tibet branch of the State Grid, the region's annual power consumption is about 1.6 billion kwh and mostly relies on hydroelectric power sources.
In cold low-water seasons, however, power supply often falls short of demand by 30 percent. Before the new power line began operation, blackouts were imposed every winter.
The new power grid project is expected to fill the gap, providing 4 billion kwh to the region annually.
By the end of 2015, Tibet's installed power generation capacity will hit 2.6 million kilowatts, more than twice the 2010 volume.