Business / Industries

Xinjiang official named head of NEA

By Du Juan and Cui Jia ( Updated: 2014-12-31 17:15

Xinjiang official named head of NEA

Nur Bekri, photo taken at the Plenary Session of the 11th National People's Congresses March 9, 2008. [Photo / CFP]

Former chairman of China's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Nur Bekri, was appointed as the new head of the country's energy administration, and deputy head of China's top economic planner, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

Nur will now be the head of the National Energy Administration and deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Born in 1961, Nur from the Uygur ethnic group, had served as deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Committee of the Communist Party of China since April 2003 and become the region's chairman in 2008.

The current head of the NEA, Wu Xinxiong, 65, from Jiangsu province, will retire from the position, the website reported.

According to an industry insider, the new appointment has shown China's ambition on new energy development, which will be beneficial to solar, wind and clean coal businesses in the region. The insider said that Nur was familiar with energy projects during his tenure in Xinjiang.

Huang Shouhong, an analyst with Essence Securities, said with Nur's appointment as the head of NEA will accelerate Xinjiang's energy development and strengthen China's energy cooperation with Central Asian countries.

"According to the country's energy development plan, Xinjiang will become a key new energy and coal power producer to meet the demand from central and eastern part of China," he said. "It will bring huge demand for extra-high voltage power grid construction to transmit the electricity generated in Xinjiang to other parts of the country."

In 2013, Nur visited a project built to send electricity generated in Hami prefecture by thermal power plants to Central China's Henan province via extra-high voltage power lines. He called it "transporting Xinjiang's coal via air" and said the construction of similar projects in the region needed to be sped up.

However, the adoption of extra-high voltage power grids has been a controversial topic in the country's power sector. According to an industry insider close to the NEA who declined to be named, Nur will be the one that will set up a clear direction on extra-high voltage power grids.

"Corruption in NEA was a severe problem within the system because of complicated connections and a new head from Xinjiang may change the situation to some extent," said the insider.

In 1998, at the age of 37, Nur took on the role of mayor of Urumqi, capital of the region. He was one of the youngest mayors who served in a provincial or regional area in China at the time. During his tenure as mayor, he tackled of the city's air pollution problems and was known as the "mayor of environmental protection".

The announcement of Nur's appointments came on during a meeting of the regional Party committee on Tuesday.

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