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Xinjiang eyes bigger role in energy supply

Updated: Sep 15, 2022 By ZHENG XIN in Beijing and MAO WEIHUA in Urumqi China Daily Print
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Employees assemble photovoltaic panels at a solar power station in Aksu, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Friday. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Autonomous region to boost various resources and step up green transition

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region vows to further tap the potential of its vast coal reserves as well as oil, gas and renewable energy, to meet the ever-growing energy demand in the country.

The region will step up coal production and capacity while further lifting oil, gas and renewable energy output to ensure sufficient energy supply in the country, said Ma Xingrui, Party secretary of Xinjiang.

The autonomous region will give full play to the important role of Xinjiang's oil, gas, coal and other resources and industries in the overall national economy while stepping up the construction of large coal supply bases and further tapping the potential of the region's high-quality coal resources, Ma said.

The region saw its coal production rise 32.5 percent year-on-year to 218 million metric tons during the first seven months of this year, with its growth rate 22.8 percentage points higher than that of Shanxi province, 25.7 percentage points higher than Shaanxi province and 16.5 percentage points higher than the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, all of which are the country's major coal-producing regions.

The region has also sped up efforts in guaranteeing coal transportation. Figures released by the region's railway department show Xinjiang has transported 33.07 million tons of coal to other regions during the first eight months, up 41.5 percent year-on-year.

The region's coal resources have also played a key role in meeting the energy demand in Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality, it said, with more than 6.61 million tons of coal sent to Sichuan, up 21.5 percent year-on-year. The figure rose to 1.42 million tons in August alone, up 73 percent on a monthly basis, it said.

Zhu Yi, a senior analyst with metals and mining at Bloomberg Intelligence, said coal has always been an important source to ensure stable electricity supplies, especially as hydropower capacity is being tested by droughts which leave power-generating dams at risk of production shortfalls.

With abundant wind and solar resources, Xinjiang is a pioneer in using new energy in China with a surge in electricity generated from clean energy in recent years. It has laid out 188 renewable energy projects so far this year, with a total installed capacity of 58.72 million kilowatts.

The region has also been stepping up construction of pumped-storage hydro projects as well as electrochemical energy storage projects to facilitate the green transition.

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