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China begins construction of world’s highest power grid

China has commenced the construction of what will be the world’s highest power grid upon completion. The project begun on 17th of this month in the remote area of Tibet Autonomous Region also known as Xizang Autonomous Region, but normally called Tibet or Xizang, in southwest of the country.

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About the project

Supported by towers that stand at an average altitude of more than 4,000m, the project stretches approximately 1,700km from Xigaze city, in the southern part of the region, across extremely dangerous terrain such as permafrost, no man’s land and swamps to Ngari Prefecture in the far Westside.

The project is said to be a very difficult one due to the harsh construction environment, dangerous road conditions, poor logistics support and strict environmental protection requirements.

A total investment of about US $1.05bn has been set aside for its realization. It is expected to come to live in 2021.

Objective of the project

Connecting 10 Tibetan counties, the project is set to end the days when the power grid of the Ali Prefecture was secluded from the rest of Tibet’s network, improving power supply in the prefecture therefore.

It will also help in poverty reduction in Tibet, which is one of China’s poorest province-level jurisdictions with 30% of its inhabitants without access to stable electricity supply.

Since 2016, the State Grid Corporation of China has injected approximately US $2.03bn into Tibet’s power grid construction, effectively improving the local power supply. At least 70% of Tibetans could access electricity by 2017 and the government still aims to increase the percentage to 97 by 2020.

Furthermore, the project will facilitate the transfer of clean energy from Tibet, which the Chinese government sees as a valuable source of renewable energy, particularly hydro power, to other provinces and countries in south Asia.



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