China Energy Investment Corp, also known as China Energy, has announced that 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. With a total installed capacity of 2.2 million kilowatts, the station is located at 5,000 meters above sea level in Qinghai province and is expected to generate an average of more than 7.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year once fully operational. This will cut 2.56 million metric tons of standard coal equivalent consumption and 8.16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The project is also China Energy’s first integrated clean energy facility to include hydropower, solar power, and energy storage, taking better advantage of the abundant clean energy in the western parts of China while benefiting the energy-hungry eastern regions.
According to Li Hongxin, deputy director of Qinghai Maerdang Co Ltd, a unit of China Energy, the project is almost completed and the company is determined to ensure that the project is put into operation in time despite COVID-19 impacts during the past few years. In addition to the Maerdang hydropower station, the company’s clean energy base in 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 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.
An analyst, Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, said that 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. China’s energy supply is generally secure, and it has a very secure energy supply system compared with many other countries.