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Tibet's geothermal energy able to generate 1 mln kw of power
Updated: 2004-11-17 20:44

Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region boasts rich geothermal energy resources capable of generating at least 1 million kilowatts of electricity, said a Tibetan academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

A preliminary survey conducted by academician Dorji and his colleagues has shown that the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, at the average altitude of 4,000 meters, is a goldmine of geothermal energy resources.

"This is contrary to traditional beliefs that such resources exist only in volcanic regions of lower altitudes," said the noted geologist, the first Tibetan to become an academic.

Tibet boasts the richest geothermal energy resources in China, accounting for 80 percent of the country's total. Incomplete statistics show the region has more than 700 geothermal areas, 342 of which are exploitable and contain energy equal to 31.53 billion tons of coal.

 Geothermal fields have been found along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest railway route which is still under construction. Their exploitation will help fuel economic development along the line, said Dorji.

So far, three geothermal power plants built in Tibet have a combined installed capacity of 28.18 megawatts, with the plant in Yangbajing generating more than 100 million kwh of electricity a year.

But experts believe the regional geothermal power industry still boasts massive potentials, as the new energy presently contributes only 30 percent to the local power grid.

Dorji said full exploitation of the rich resources would generate more power and improve the energy structure as geothermal energy has proven a green, recycled and safe energy.

"It'll provide power and heating for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and can be used in tourism, health care and aquatics breeding as well," he said.

China's research and development on geothermal energy on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau dated back to the 1960s.

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