Maerdang hydropower station, the highest-altitude facility of its kind on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, is currently under construction and is expected to begin operations in March 2024, said its operator China Energy Investment Corp, also known as China Energy.
Located at 5,000 meters above sea level along the Yellow River in Qinghai province, the station — with a total installed capacity of 2.2 million kilowatts — is expected to generate an average of more than 7.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year once becoming fully operational, cutting 2.56 million metric tons of standard coal equivalent consumption and 8.16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, it said.
The project is also the company's first integrated clean energy facility to include hydropower, solar power and energy storage. It will take better advantage of the abundant clean energy in the western parts of China while benefiting the energy-hungry eastern regions, the company said.
Li Hongxin, deputy director of Qinghai Maerdang Co Ltd, a unit of China Energy, said the project is almost completed. The company vows to make sure the project is put into operation in time despite COVID-19 impacts during the past few years.
China Energy has been stepping up clean energy construction amid the nationwide resumption of work and production, as the government has been taking swift action to resume energy production, a testament to the nation's resilience and determination in the face of adversity.
In addition to the Maerdang hydropower station in Qinghai, the company's clean energy base in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region with a total solar capacity of 3 million kW is also under construction at full speed.
The project is the country's first in response to government ambitions to speed up the construction of solar and wind power generation facilities in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions amid efforts to boost renewable energy.
The first phase with 1 million kW of solar capacity is expected to connect to the grid soon, while the second phase with 2 million kW is also expected to start construction shortly and be operational by the end of this year, it said.
An analyst said the resumption of China's energy projects plays a key role in the world's energy security as well as green transition.
Nationwide resumption of energy projects, including construction of nuclear and hydropower plants, as well as wind and solar farms, will contribute to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.
China's energy supply is generally secure as the nation forges ahead to meet its climate targets. It has a very secure energy supply system compared with many other countries, Lin said.