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Gansu powers up for sustainable future

Update Time:2014-07-24 14:04:57 Writer:Sunningpower Source:News

Province is leveraging its advantages to generate a 10-million-kilowatt new energy base

When speaking of Gansu province, what usually comes to mind is the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, a World Cultural Heritage site on the Silk Road.

Visitors are always amazed by the Buddhist wall paintings, which represent the pursuit of purity and enlightenment, at the ancient Buddhist complex.

Yet today it is the blanket of shining solar panels and bustling wind turbines located along the ancient trade route, which are giving the province in Northwest China fame, as it has become the nation's new energy center.

Wang Yunzhong, head of the plan and development department at Gansu Electric Power Co, told China Daily that together photovoltaic and wind energy now contribute one-third of the province's total power supply.

And their contribution is expected to rise to around 40 percent at the end of this year, when a new 3-million-kilowatt wind power project is incorporated into the power network.

"Our 10-million-kilowatt new energy base is already taking shape", Wang said.

Gansu is one of the leading provinces for new energy, with photovoltaic installed capacity at 4.3 million kilowatts, which ranks first nationwide, and wind power installed capacity reaching 7.03 million kilowatts in 2013, the third highest, although it is expected to rise to second by the end of this year, Wang said.

Wang Ningbo, director of the Wind Power Technology Center, said Gansu is rich in wind and solar energy resources, which are mainly clustered around the desert areas in the Hexi Corridor region.

The potential wind power development capacity is estimated at 210 million kilowatts, and the potential photovoltaic power is predicted to hit 120 million kilowatts.

In sharp contrast with the destructive wind force in some other wind-rich regions, which can be strong enough to destroy the turbines, the wind in Gansu is strong enough to work the turbines but not strong enough to destroy them and it is steady all the year around, Wang said.

And the province is blessed with sunlight. Even in the worst part of the province, the solar energy generation is greater than that of most of East China, he noted.

The Hexi area, in particular, is "extremely rich" in solar energy, which can compete with the Himalayas and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, he said.

The province's vast land resources add another string to its new energy bow.

"The new energy development requires a great deal of land," Wang said, adding that every 10,000 kilowatts of photovoltaic power need 33.3 hectares of solar panels.

The land cost partially explains why it is less efficient to develop such an industry in crowded coastal and eastern regions of the country, he said.

Environmental concerns also need to be taken into consideration, he added.

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