State Grid up­grades aim to re­duce haze

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CHENG YINGQI chengy­ingqi@chi­

The elec­tric­ity grid is be­ing up­graded to help com­bat smog in ma­jor cities.

As of Jan­uary, China had com­pleted the con­struc­tion of five ul­tra­high-volt­age trans­mis­sion lines; two more had been sub­mit­ted for ap­proval and an­other six were in the pipe­line, an of­fi­cial from the State Grid said re­cently.

“The ul­tra­high- volt­age trans­mis­sion lines can trans­mit power from western China to the east, op­ti­mize the en­ergy dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, in­crease ef­fi­cient use of clean en­ergy and im­prove the eco-en­vi­ron­ment in Cen­tral China,” said Zhang Zhengling, deputy di­rec­tor of the State Grid’s de­vel­op­men­tand-plan­ning depart­ment.

Zhang was speak­ing at an event held by the China As­so­ci­a­tion for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in Bei­jing.

The ma­jor coal-min­ing ar­eas are in Shanxi and Shaanxi prov­inces and the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, far from the power-hun­gry cities in east­ern and cen­tral China.

Be­fore ul­tra­high-volt­age trans­mis­sion lines came into oper­a­tion, coal was trans­ported long dis­tances to small power sta­tions near large cities.

The ul­tra­high-volt­age trans­mis­sion net­work — which refers to 1,000-volt al­ter­nat­ing cur­rent trans­mis­sion or 800volt di­rect-cur­rent trans­mis­sion — re­duces trans­mis­sion losses sig­nif­i­cantly, al­low­ing long-dis­tance trans­mis­sion of elec­tric­ity in­stead of coal.

“Re­plac­ing coal trans­porta­tion with power trans­mis­sion across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to our own es­ti­mates, may re­duce pol­lu­tion haze in East and Cen­tral China by 23 per­cent or 25 per­cent from 2012 to 2020,” Zhang said.

Gao Liy­ing, deputy di­rec­tor of the State Grid’s ul­tra­high­volt­age con­struc­tion depart­ment, also noted the pol­lu­tion re­duc­tion pos­si­ble by the up­graded grid.

“A sur­vey by Green­peace last win­ter looked at 196 power plants in Bei­jing, Tian­jin and He­bei. The re­sult showed that 100 mil­lion kilo­watt-hours trans­mit­ted by ul­tra­high-volt­age trans­mis­sion lines could cut the PM2.5 emis­sions of the load cen­ter by 7 tons, and re­duce PM10 re­lease by 17 tons,” he said.

Ear­lier re­ports said that the to­tal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion in Bei­jing was 91.3 bil­lion kilo­watt-hours. The city’s an­nual PM2.5 emis­sions could be re­duced by 6,391 met­ric tons and PM10 by 15,521 tons if the ul­tra­high-volt­age trans­mis­sion net­works re­place all the small power plants near the city.

“The com­bustibil­ity of coal con­trib­utes 18 per­cent to the emis­sions of PM2.5. It is fair to say that coal burn­ing is a ma­jor source of pol­lu­tion haze,” Gao said, adding that in some of the most pros­per­ous re­gions of East and Cen­tral China, coal con­sump­tion ex­ceeds 3,000 tons per square km ev­ery year.

“And these re­gions are the ar­eas that had the most se­vere pol­lu­tion haze,” Gao said.

In ad­di­tion to chang­ing the lay­out of power plants, the ul­tra­high-volt­age net­work can also pro­mote clean en­ergy, Gao said.

“North China has abun­dant ther­mal, wind and so­lar power, while South­west China has hy­dropower. With an ul­tra­high-volt­age net­work, we can bun­dle ther­mal power to­gether with wind power, or wind power to­gether with so­lar power, to en­sure a steady load as well as greener power gen­er­a­tion,” he said.

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