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Renewable energy a magnet for growing Xinjiang investment

Updated: 2014-09-15
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The flat, windy expanses and steady sunshine in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have made it a magnet for investors seeking to harness the region's clean energy.

The trend was made clear as investors inked several major energy deals at the fourth China-Eurasia Expo, a six-day international event that concluded on Saturday in Urumqi, Xinjiang' s regional capital.

On Sept 2, Huocheng county of Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, drew a 500-million-yuan ($81.5 million) photovoltaic investment project from Zhenfa New Energy based in Jiangsu province. The site is expected to be put in production this year.

"In addition to boosting local economy, the environmentally friendly project will also be beneficial for the treatment of desertification in the locality," said Mao Haijuan, president of Zhenfa.

Huocheng is a prime example of the investment scene emerging across Xinjiang.

According to official statistics, some 23 industrial projects involving clean energy were clinched at the expo this year with a total contract value of about 37.7 billion yuan, topping the combined investments of traditional projects in coal and coal chemical industries.

In recent years, renewable energy is increasingly the new choice for investors amid China's worsening environmental woes.

Xinjiang is home to nine major wind areas. Its wind energy accounts for 37 percent of the country's total, second only to Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The average daily hours of sunshine in Xinjiang is the second highest in the country, making photovoltaic projects possible across the wide areas of desert and sand.

Another underlying reason for the new energy fervor at the expo is governmental support, said Yu Wuming, deputy director of the National Windpower Engineering Technology Research Center.

In 2012, the National Development and Reform Commission put forward a broad-stroke plan for Xinjiang, encouraging power generation with renewable energy, which Yu said laid a solid foundation for future projects.

The region's ultra-high voltage power transmission line, which transmits electricity from Xinjiang to the east of China, has also contributed to the growing number of investors in the region.

Xinjiang expects to reach a capacity of 13 million kilowatts of wind power and 3 million kW of solar electricity by the end of 2014, according to State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Co.