Xin­jiang of­fi­cial named head of China’s en­ergy ad­min­is­tra­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CUI JIA in Beijing

cui­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

For­mer chair­man of China’s north­west­ern Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Nur Bekri, has of­fi­cially been listed as the new head of the coun­try’s en­ergy ad­min­is­tra­tion on the lat­est up­date on the of­fi­cial web­site of Na­tional En­ergy Ad­min­is­tra­tion on Jan­uary 15.

Me­dia re­ported on Jan­uary 1 that Nur was ap­pointed as the new head of NEA but there was no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion. He is also now the deputy head of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

Born in 1961, Nur from the Uygur eth­nic group, had served as deputy sec­re­tary of the Xin­jiang Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China since April 2003 and be­come the re­gion’s chair­man in 2008.

The for­mer head of the NEA, Wu Xinx­iong, 65, from Jiangsu prov­ince, is ex­pected to re­tire from the po­si­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try in­sider, the new ap­point­ment has shown China’s am­bi­tion on new en­ergy de­vel­op­ment, which will be ben­e­fi­cial to so­lar, wind and clean coal busi­nesses in the re­gion. The in­sider said that Nur was fa­mil­iar with en­ergy projects dur­ing his ten­ure in Xin­jiang.

Huang Shouhong, an an­a­lyst with Essence Se­cu­ri­ties, said with Nur’s ap­point­ment as the head of NEA will ac­cel­er­ate Xin­jiang’s en­ergy de­vel­op­ment and strengthen China’s en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion with Cen­tral Asian coun­tries.

“Ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s en­ergy de­vel­op­ment plan, Xin­jiang will be­come a key new en­ergy and coal power pro­ducer to meet the de­mand from cen­tral and east­ern part of China,” he said. “It will bring huge de­mand for ex­trahigh volt­age power grid con­struc­tion to trans­mit the elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated in Xin­jiang to other parts of the coun­try.”

In 2013, Nur vis­ited a project built to send elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated in Hami pre­fec­ture via air” and said the con­struc­tion of sim­i­lar projects in the re­gion needed to be sped up.

How­ever, the adop­tion of ex­tra-high volt­age power grids has been a con­tro­ver­sial topic in the coun­try’s power sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try in­sider close to the NEA who de­clined to be named, Nur will be the one that will set up a clear di­rec­tion on ex­trahigh volt­age power grids.

“Cor­rup­tion in NEA was a se­vere prob­lem within the sys­tem be­cause of com­pli­cated con­nec­tions and a new head from Xin­jiang may change the sit­u­a­tion to some ex­tent,” said the in­sider.

In 1998, at the age of 37, Nur took on the role of mayor of Urumqi, cap­i­tal of the re­gion. He was one of the youngest may­ors who served in a provin­cial or re­gional area in China at the time. Dur­ing his ten­ure as mayor, he tack­led of the city’s air pol­lu­tion prob­lems and was known as the “mayor of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion”.

ZHANG WEI / CHINA DAILY

For­mer chair­man of Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion Nur Bekri. Photo was taken dur­ing an in­ter­view with China Daily in March 2009.

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