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Shaping up Asia’s power network
Update Time: 2014-04-10
    
China’s newly operational ultra—high voltage power transmission line, designed with the largest capacity in the world, has laid a foundation for transnational energy cooperation in Asia, according to experts.
 
About 50 billion kilowatt-hours(kwh) of electricity is planned to be transmitted from western to central China through the800kv ultra—high voltage direct current(UHVDC) transmission line this year after operations began in late January,according to the State Grid Corporation of China(SGCC), the project contractor.
 
Social scientists believe the new transmission line brings opportunityto shape up a power network between China central Asian countries and even the whole of Asia.
 
“The line proves technologies have matured for long—distance,ultra—high voltage power transmission and they can be applied to a transnational power network” said Cheng Lu,SGCC’s senior engineer.
 
According to SGCC, the line will become a major route to transmitwind and solar power generated in Hami prefecture. Jiuquan City of Gansu Province,and the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province.
 
Wind and solar power, though renewable and environmentally friendly, are unstable and require transmission together with thermal power.
 
“High—capacity transmission lines such as the Hami-Zhengzhou line make large—scale wind and solar power integration possible” said Shu Yinbiao general manager of the State Grid.
 
Shu added that when equipped with these lines, northwestern China, which is rich in renewable energy resources, will be able to construct wind and solar power stations with large generating capacity.
 
Eric Kemp—Benedict, Asia Centre director at the Stockholm Environment Institute, said large-scale integration of powergenerated by renewable energy relies on strong power grid support.
 
Constructing an Asian power network mayhelp break the bottleneck in using solar and wind power, he said.
 
China’s large energy bases are mostly distributed in the west and north,more than 2,000 km from the power network load centers in the eastern and central regions, said Zhang Guobao, director of the Expert Advisory Committee under the National Energy Administration.
 
“Ultra—high power transmission lines are a wayoutforthe country’s imbalanced distribution of energy reserves” Zhang said.
 
Most Asian countries are facing an imbalance of energy supply and demand.
 
“Major energy consumers like Japan and the Republic of Korea(ROK) rely on other countries for power supply. Central and northern Asian countries have rich energy resource supplies that exceed demand” said Meng, who added that Asia is a huge energy consumption market with imbalanced energy reserves.
 
“An interconnected power grid means a lot to the ROK in terms of not only the power supply, but also future energy safety and energy structure” said Jinsoo Song from the Korea Institute of Energy Research.
 
Song said that after the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The ROK reevaluated the safetyof nuclear power and planned to scale it down, making power supply tight and a transnational power grid necessary.
 
Derek Atkinson, an expert with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific(ESCAP), said construction of an interconnected ’’super Asian power grid’’ that would allow countries to trade and transmit powerwould help strike a balance between power supply and demand and increase the efficiency of energy use.
 
“It will be a collective energy strategy for Asia” Atkinson said.
 
“To ensure energy safety, Asian countries have to develop multilateral energy cooperation” said Zheng Fangneng, head of the energy and transportation division at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
 
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