A smart power plant operated by Shanxi's coal-mining and power giant Jinneng Holding Group was put into operation in December 2021, marking an important milestone for the company to contribute to the province's economic transformation.
Over the past several years, the North China province of Shanxi has implemented an economic transformation campaign that reduces reliance on coal mining and other heavy industries, upgrades traditional industries with high technologies and fosters emerging industries as new drivers for economic growth.
The new smart power plant of Tashan Power Generation, a subsidiary of Jinneng Holding, is a perfect representation of how local businesses are using cutting-edge technologies to upgrade their traditional industries.
At the power plant, a robot is used for in-plant inspections, monitoring the operations of a variety of equipment and taking a record of all the data.
"This is one of the most advanced patrolling robots in the country," said Li Qinghua, an executive of Jinneng Holding. "One such robot can take the place of two to three human inspectors and features an even higher efficiency and accuracy."
Other cutting-edge technologies that the power plant is equipped with include big data, cloud computing, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G communications, according to Li.
"The application of such technologies has greatly improved the operational efficiency at our plant," Li said. "And for a power plant, improved efficiency means conservation of resources and reduction of emissions."
He took the automatically controlled boiler as an example, saying that it has combustion efficiency 0.5 percent higher than the conventional ones.
"People might think 0.5 percent is an insignificant figure," Li said. "However, such a slight rise in efficiency can lead to a saving of 6 million yuan ($946,000) worth of coal a year. And we're continuing our efforts to improve efficiency."
While using high technologies to upgrade traditional industries, Shanxi is developing 14 emerging industries as new growth engines.
General aviation is one such industry. It has recently developed into a complete industry chain ranging from manufacturing to flight services.
Standing upstream of the industrial chain are aircraft manufacturers like Datong Light Aircraft. Founded in 2017, the company was Shanxi's first to be granted a license by the Civil Aviation Administration of China to manufacture aircraft.
With an annual production capacity of 400 light aircraft, Datong Light Aircraft secured orders of more than 100 units last year, according to Shen Dinglong, board chairman of Sino-German Light Aircraft, the parent of Datong Light Aircraft.
The latest development in the sector is a helicopter development and manufacturing project established in Taiyuan on Jan 1.
With a total investment of 2.01 billion yuan, the project is scheduled to be operational in 2024, with a production capacity of 1,200 helicopters a year.
According to Shanxi's plan for the industry, the scale of the province's general aviation sector is expected to reach 10 billion yuan by 2025. And the figure is projected to reach 50 billion yuan by 2035.