China’s economy is growing at unprecedented rates, and the superpower has been doing everything it can to generate enough power to support it. So far the nation has invested in everything from alternative energy to harnessing the country’s natural resources. Today the country took a major step towards upgrading its energy infrastructure by announcing the construction of the world’s largest transmission line – a massive 800 kilovolt (kv) ultra-high voltage power line that is capable of transmitting a whopping 37 billion kWh per year.
Built by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the high-capacity power line will stretch 1,373 miles from Hami prefecture in the east through Gansu, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Shanxi before finishing in Zhengzhou, the capital of central province Henan.
“The ultra-high power transmission lines are a way out for the country’s imbalanced distribution of energy reserve,” said Zhang Guobao, director of the Expert Advisory Committee under the National Energy Administration.
Unsurprisingly, the power line costs a lot – an astounding 23.39 billion yuan ($3.7 bn). However once it is finished in 2014, it will have a world record capacity of eight million kW.
It is hoped that the power lines will help to power the ever-growing eastern and central regions of China, which are currently heavily reliant on the nation’s coal reserves – however they are trying to implement as much wind and solar power as possible, and this power line will help to provide alternative energy throughout the country.
Of course, there will be an environmental impact to the new transmission cable, but SGCC are doing everything they can to downplay it. In a statement, SGCC’s general manager Liu Zhenya said: “We can reduce 317,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 267,000 tons of nitrogen oxide which would otherwise be produced during the transportation.”
Images: Gwydion M. Williams