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China begins work on world-beating MEGA power cables

An 800kv line will have largest capacity on the planet

By Phil Muncaster, 14 May 2012

China’s apparently unceasing efforts to lead the world in every conceivable field continued on Sunday after engineers in the western region of Xinjiang began construction of what is claimed will be the largest capacity power line on the planet.

The 800 kilovolt (kv) ultra-high voltage power transmission line is being built by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and when completed will transmit a whopping 37 billion kWh per year on average, Xinhua reported.

The line will stretch 1,373 miles from Hami prefecture in the east of the region, through Gansu, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Shanxi before finishing in Zhengzhou, the capital of central province Henan.

The 23.39 billion yuan (£2.3bn) line is expected to have a world beating capacity of eight million kW when completed in 2014, Xinhua said.

The line, and many more like it, is needed in China because of the sheer size of the country and its well-documented supply and demand issues.

Put simply, most of the country’s power is consumed in the eastern and central regions but produced in the west. Xinjiang has coal reserves of two trillion tons, for example, and is a major base for wind power, according to the report.

The environmental impact of the power lines was also down played by SGCC.

"We can reduce 317,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 267,000 tons of nitrogen oxide which would otherwise be produced during the transportation," SGCC’s general manager Liu Zhenya was quoted as saying.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sunday also saw the start of construction on a second line designed to connect Xinjiang, Gansu and Qinghai provinces with the rest of the country.

The 9.56bn yuan (£941m) 750kv line will run 1354 miles to connect these wind and solar power-generating regions with energy-hungry parts of the country.

These huge investments in power line infrastructure are necessary to meet the demand for energy in the world’s fastest growing major economy, fuelled in no small part by the rapid growth of the technology manufacturing industry in recent years. ®