State Grid Corp of China, the country's largest power transmission firm, plans to invest up to 300 billion yuan (HK$340.77 billion) by 2012 in ultra-high voltage (UHV) power transmission lines.
'We have grasped the core technologies of ultra-high voltage alternate current transmission ... and acquired the mass production capacity of such equipment,' State Grid said in a news release at the International Conference on UHV Transmission Technology held in Beijing yesterday.
'China has already got all the conditions ready to apply in large scale the ultra-high voltage power transmission technologies in the country.'
State Grid vice-president Shu Yinbiao told reporters that his company would spend close to 300 billion yuan on such power lines by 2012, far higher than the initial estimate of 100 billion yuan. 'We hope these power projects can play a bigger role,' he said. 'So we are going to build on a bigger scale and add some more projects [to our original plan].'
Mr Shu said the figure would hit 600 billion yuan by 2020.
The company's confidence in ultra-high voltage utilisation comes from the success of its pilot 640 kilometre, 5.86 billion yuan ultra-high voltage alternate current line formally launched in January. It spans the distance between coal-rich Shanxi province in the northern region down to central region's Hubei province.
'The experimental line proved an all-around successful test of the workability, reliability, safety and environment-friendliness of these transmission technologies,' it said.
Large-scale ultra-high voltage line construction and equipment procurement are expected to start in the next few years.
'The next two or three years will be a peak period for our equipment sales,' said Fang Yuying, deputy manager of the engineering department of Henan Pinggao Electric.
The equipment supplier has a contract worth more than 200 million yuan for the Shanxi section of the Shanxi-Hubei line.
State Grid is now laying another two lines, each spanning more than 2,000km from the hydropower-rich southwest to the wealthy east coast, according to Mr Shu.
He said the firm's ultra-high voltage lines would transmit 300 gigawatts of electricity by 2020, almost 20 per cent of the estimated national power capacity of 1,600 GW by then.
More than 90 per cent of the equipment would be procured domestically, although some foreign equipment suppliers such as Switzerland's ABB and Germany's Siemens would also be used.
Mr Shu said the company had signed a franchise contract to operate the Philippine national grid for 25 years, which is to be extended to 50 years if needed.
Brazil, India, South Africa, Mongolia and Russia are also potential customers or partners for the ultra-high voltage technology, he said.
Portion of the national power capacity sent through firm's UHV lines by 2020: 20%