Remote Chinese Province Aims for Another Clean Power Milestone

(Bloomberg) -- A sparsely populated Chinese province that is home to the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers is poised for another clean energy milestone.

The northwest Chinese province of Qinghai is aiming to use only electricity generated from renewable sources, including hydroelectric power, to supply its population of nearly 6 million over a nine-day period that started June 20, State Grid Qinghai Electric Power Co. said Thursday. Last year the region used clean energy continuously for seven days, which it said broke a record set by Portugal.

China has emerged as the global leader in clean power investment after it spent $127 billion in renewable energy last year as it seeks to ease its reliance on coal and reduce smog in cities, according to a report jointly published by the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance in April. Qinghai’s total renewable energy installations have surged 42 percent this year from a year earlier and now total 10.7 gigawatts.

“Qinghai is not a high-energy consuming province in China, but it has a huge amount of clean power capacity,” said Tian Miao, an analyst at Everbright Sun Hung Kai Co. in Beijing. “The clean energy trial offers a chance to evaluate the cost of renewables without curtailment as China prepares for market-based trading of power.”

A significant portion of power in the period will be hydroelectricity, generated from the Longyangxia reservoir where daily outflows are expected to reach 850 cubic meters a second, the grid company said. Daily clean power generation is expected to rise 40 percent to 53 million kilowatt hours during the period.

About 41 percent of Qinghai’s total installed power capacity is from renewable generation. The province is one of six so-called clean energy pilots.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.