HANGZHOU -- Construction on a west-to-east ultra-high voltage direct current (UHV DC) power transmission project kicks off in East China's Zhejiang province on Saturday, marking the nation's latest efforts to ease power shortages in its eastern regions.
The project, funded by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), will transport about 40 billion kilowatt-hours of hydropower from Xiluodu Hydropower Station in southwest China to Zhejiang annually after its scheduled completion in 2014, saving 12.28 million tonnes of standard coal or 34 million tonnes in carbon emissions.
The SGCC, the nation's major power grid operator, will invest 23.86 billion yuan ($3.79 billion) in the construction of the project.
Starting in Yibin, a southern city in Sichuan province, the 1679.9-kilometer transmission line will traverse Guizhou, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces to reach Zhejiang's central city of Jinhua.
The project is the SGCC's third UHV DC power transmission project after the Xiangjiaba-Shanghai and Jinping-Nanjing transmission lines, which were completed in 2010 and 2012, respectively, according to Liu Zehong, director of SGCC's DC power construction department.
The three transmission lines together will support a transmission capacity of 21.6 million kilowatts and help meet rising power demands in energy-consuming cities in eastern China, Liu said.
These projects will also help fuel the exploration of clean energy in the country's water-rich southwestern regions and make water resources there an economic advantage, which will in turn promote balanced regional growth, Liu said.
Xiluodu Hydropower Station on the Jinshajiang River is the country's third largest hydropower project after the Three Gorges project and Xiangjiaba Hydropower Station.
The installed capacity for hydropower on the Jinshajiang River could amount to 90 million kilowatts, about five times that of the Three Gorges project, according to Liu.
UHV, defined as voltage of 1,000 kilovolts or above in alternating current and 800 kilovolts or above in direct current, is designed to deliver large quantities of power over long distances with less power loss than the most commonly used 500-kilovolt lines.