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China starts building new billion-dollar ultra-high voltage power project

BEIJING, Nov 4 (Reuters) - China has begun construction on a large-scale ultra-high voltage (UHV) power project, which will help alleviate air pollution problems, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) said on Tuesday.

The project, estimated to cost 68.3 billion yuan ($11.2 billion), will involve 4,740 km of new power lines as well as several new transformer substations, and will stretch from Inner Mongolia in the northwest to the capital Beijing and down the coast to Shanghai, China's state-owned power utility said in a statement on its website.

It is expected to come into operation in 2016.

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China's heavy reliance on coal has helped create an air pollution crisis in the world's largest energy consumer, leading to a frequent haze over its densely populated east. The new UHV power project will allow China to cut coal usage by 150 million tonnes every year, State Grid said.

State Grid, the world's biggest utility and a pioneer of UHV technology, plans to spend 620 billion yuan ($101 billion) by 2017 on 20 UHV lines in China, a company executive said last August.

The projects have been controversial with critics arguing China is betting too much on costly and untested technology that could expose the system to blackouts. State Grid has said that UHV lines are reliable and designed to prevent outages.

The UHV lines will allow China to build power plants near coal mines or gas fields before sending electricity rather than coal across the country.

In July, State Grid began operating a new UHV power line across five eastern and southwestern provinces.

(1 US dollar = 6.1150 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Adam Rose; Editing by Mark Potter)

Reuters
Copyright:
Reuters
Published on:
November 6, 2014
Source url:
http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/USenergyNews/~3/YSeI4H8vKuo/story01.htm
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