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China Starts Construction Of $22B Expansion Of Transmission Line Network

China’s largest utility will soon begin the construction of some $22 billion of new long-distance, ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to connect more wind and solar installations to the grid.

State Grid Co., according to a Bloomberg report, supplies power to more than 1 billion people and is the biggest builder of ultra-high-voltage transmission lines in the world.

China plans to build a total of 1,200 GW in wind and solar capacity by 2030 to meet its emission reduction targets. In line with these plans, the country is expanding its grid with transmission lines to carry the low-carbon energy from the unpopulated areas where wind and solar farms are built to its megacities.

According to some estimates cited by Bloomberg last year, this grid expansion undertaking will take 30 years and cost around $300 billion. Currently, China has 30 ultra-high-voltage transmission lines in operation and is one of only two countries to have them. The other is Brazil, with two UHV lines, both built by a Chinese company.

China is the biggest investor in renewable energy in the world as well as the biggest emitter. In the first half of the year, China once again led in terms of investments, spending $98 billion on wind, solar, and other low-carbon energy sources.

This was as much as 128 percent higher than investments in the first half of 2021 and far ahead of the second-biggest renewable spender, the U.S., which only invested $12 billion in the first half of the year.

“Policy makers are increasingly recognizing that renewable energy is the key to unlocking energy security goals and reducing dependence on volatile energy commodities,” BloombergNEF’s head of analysis Albert Cheung said, as quoted by MarketWatch this week.

“Despite the headwinds presented by ongoing cost inflation and supply chain challenges, demand for clean energy sources has never been higher, and we expect that the global energy crisis will continue to act as an accelerant for the clean energy transition,” he added.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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