Zhaxi Nyima, a deputy team leader at the urban power supply service center of State Grid Lhasa Power Supply Company and a deputy to the 14th National People’s Congress, reminisced about his childhood in Riwoqe County in Qamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. He recalled using oil lamps during his early years, but later had access to electric lights during elementary and middle school. However, power outages were frequent during that time.
As Nyima recounted, things have significantly improved in terms of electricity supply in Tibet. He stated that the region now has sufficient electricity, and power outages are rare. This improvement can be attributed to the efforts of the government and power companies in enhancing the electricity infrastructure in the region. These improvements have made a significant impact on the lives of Tibetans, particularly those living in remote areas.
The development of electricity infrastructure in Tibet has brought about various benefits. In addition to lighting up homes, it has also helped improve access to education and healthcare. For instance, schools and hospitals in remote areas can now function optimally with stable electricity supply. Additionally, the development of electricity infrastructure has opened up opportunities for industries such as tourism, which contributes significantly to the local economy.
Despite the improvements, there are still areas that require further development. For instance, there are still areas that rely on diesel generators for electricity supply. This is due to the region’s unique geographic and climatic conditions, which make it challenging to lay cables and build power plants. Nevertheless, the government and power companies continue to invest in the region’s electricity infrastructure to ensure that more areas have stable access to electricity.
Zhaxi Nyima, a deputy team leader at the urban power supply service center of State Grid Lhasa Power Supply Company and a deputy to the 14th National People’s Congress, spoke about the history of electricity supply in his hometown during an interview with China News Network. He described the gradual evolution from no access to electricity to an upgraded power supply service.
In 1990, Zhaxi Nyima left his hometown to attend a hydroelectric technical school in Lhasa. During that time, the Najin hydroelectric power station was the primary source of electricity for the Lhasa urban area. However, during the winter season, power supply shortages were frequent, with each area taking turns to receive power supply, including schools.
After graduating in 1993, Zhaxi Nyima began working at the Najin Hydropower Station, where he was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the generator units. He monitored the four hydroelectric turbine units, and during summer when the water flow in the Lhasa River was high, all four units would operate. However, during winter when water flow reduced, only two units could operate.
Despite the challenges, the power supply situation in Lhasa gradually improved over the years. According to Zhaxi Nyima, it wasn’t until the end of the 1990s that Lhasa city was able to solve its power supply shortages. The improvement in power supply was the result of concerted efforts by the government and power companies to improve the electricity infrastructure in the region.
The improvements in electricity supply have had a significant impact on the lives of Tibetans, particularly those living in remote areas. Access to stable electricity has improved access to education and healthcare, as schools and hospitals in remote areas can now function optimally. Additionally, the development of electricity infrastructure has opened up opportunities for industries such as tourism, which contributes significantly to the local economy.
However, despite the improvements, there are still areas in Tibet that require further development. Nevertheless, the government and power companies continue to invest in the region’s electricity infrastructure to ensure that more areas have stable access to electricity.
Zhaxi Nyima’s journey in the electric power industry continued in 2005 when he joined the urban distribution repair team responsible for repairing power failures in residential areas. This marked the beginning of significant progress in Tibet’s electric power industry as the region entered the “fast lane” of development.
The breakthrough in Tibet’s electricity supply began with the Qinghai-Tibet Grid Interconnection Project, which was put into operation at the end of 2011. The project had a total investment of 16.286 billion yuan ($2.34 billion). Subsequently, the Sichuan-Tibet Power Grid Interconnection Project was launched on November 20, 2014, which connected the Qamdo power grid in Tibet and the power grid in Sichuan.
The Central Tibet Power Grid Interconnection Project was a significant milestone in the construction and operation of power grid projects. The project, which broke multiple records, was completed on November 23, 2018, and put into operation. The interconnection of the central Tibet power grid project paved the way for the Ali-Tibet Central Power Grid Interconnection Project, which was officially put into operation in December 2020. The project marked Tibet’s entry into the era of a unified power grid covering all 7 cities and 74 counties (districts) in the region.
As Tibet continues to enjoy sufficient electricity, Zhaxi Nyima explains that the focus is now on upgrading power supply services. This emphasis on improvement is essential to meet the region’s growing energy demands, particularly as more people are drawn to the area for tourism and other economic opportunities.
Zhaxi Nyima described the past electric wires in the old area of Lhasa as a complex tangle of spider webs that were intertwined with various pipelines. The poor condition of the wires resulted in high failure rates, making repairs difficult. In such cases, Zhaxi Nyima and his colleagues had to climb up the electric poles while another colleague would search for the corresponding faulty line nearby.
In time, the old city area was renovated, and all pipelines were placed underground, which eliminated the need for spider web-like electric wires. This upgrade improved the overall reliability of the electricity supply to the area.
To further improve the experience of residents using electricity, Zhaxi Nyima and three others were sent by their company to other provinces in 2016 to learn about live-line work and emergency repairs. Following their training, the Live-Line Operation and Maintenance Team was officially established in Lhasa City Power Supply Service Center in 2017. This team was designed to provide timely repairs and improve the quality of the electricity supply services offered to residents.
The Live-Line Operation and Maintenance Team’s establishment in Lhasa City Power Supply Service Center has been a significant step towards ensuring reliable and high-quality electricity services for the residents of Lhasa. With the team in place, residents can expect timely repairs and better management of power outages, which is particularly important as the region continues to develop and demands for energy increases.
Zhaxi Nyima shared that progress has been made in the electric power industry in Tibet. Faults can now be fixed during live-line work without power outages, which is a significant improvement in the electricity usage experience of the Tibetan people.
According to official information released in October 2022 by the Tibet Autonomous Region, the cumulative investment in the construction of the Tibet power grid has reached nearly 70 billion yuan in the past decade, exceeding the total investment in power grid construction over the past 60 years. The growth rate of electricity consumption has been maintained at a double-digit rate for several years, increasing from 2.77 billion kilowatt-hours in 2012 to 11.86 billion kilowatt-hours in 2022, as reported by the State Grid Tibet Electric Power Co., Ltd.
Zhaxi Nyima expressed his witness to the rapid development of the Tibet power industry. He highlighted that this is a kind of progress indicating that the electricity-using experience of the Tibetan people is improving. The development of the power industry and its investments in the past decade have played a vital role in providing the residents of Tibet with stable and sufficient electricity.
Overall, the continued investments and improvements in the electricity infrastructure in Tibet have brought significant positive changes to the lives of Tibetans. Access to stable electricity has enabled schools and hospitals in remote areas to function better, improved economic opportunities, and contributed to the region’s overall development.