Northwest China’s Qinghai Province runs 7 days on renewable energy alone

Northwest China’s Qinghai Province has just run for seven straight days entirely on renewable energy.

From June 17 to midnight of June 23, Qinghai used only wind, solar and hydro power stations.

Quan Shengming, general manager of the provincial grid company, said during the period, electricity use was 1.1 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to 535,000 tons of coal.

Hydro power plants supplied 72.3 percent of the electricity, with new energy like wind and solar supplying the remainder for the province, which is home to 5.8 million people, said Han Ti, vice general manager.

Laxiwa hydro-power station in Guide county, is the largest on the upper stream of the Yellow River. On average, it generates 10.2 billion kilowatt hours a year.

Staff with the power station started to check their facilities months before the test and worked overtime to ensure its smooth operation.

Juinpower, a major electricity consumer in Qinghai, produces solar panels.

Li Yuzhong, general manager of the company, said he felt no difference in the power supplies to the company. “There is no turbulence, it was a smooth process,” Li said.

Home to the source of China’s major rivers, Qinghai has strong hydro-power and solar supplies.

By May this year, the power grid of Qinghai had a total installed capacity of 23.4 million kilowatts, about 82.8 percent of which came from hydro, solar and wind power.

“Clean energy is the ultimate way. We need to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, improve our energy structure, and reduce carbon emissions,” said Han.

According to the provincial 13th Five-Year Plan, Qinghai plans to expand its solar and wind capacity to 35 million kilowatt by 2020 and supply 110 billion kilowatt hours of clean electricity every year to central and eastern parts of China.

China’s enthusiasm for clean energy is pushing the global transition toward a low-carbon future with plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan (about 370 billion U.S. dollars) in renewable energy by 2020, creating more than 13 million jobs, according to the National Energy Administration.