Guangdong must clear eight obstacles to development before it can make further economic gains, Governor Huang Huahua told provincial officials at a government meeting on Monday. The eight obstacles mainly relate to regional co-operation, construction of railway and electricity networks, insurance for rural residents, industrial upgrades and technological development. Mr Huang gave the highest priority to deepening regional co-operation with Hong Kong and Macau. To speed up the economic integration, Guangdong is to build a seamless railway network in the Pearl River Delta region and establish a road and rail bridge to Hainan . He said the government would also speed up the expansion of electricity and natural-gas networks in response to the province's long-standing energy crisis. The province faced its worst power crisis in three decades this year when bad weather damaged interprovincial transmission lines and pushed up demand. Analysts say the rate at which the electricity network and power plants are being built in Guangdong lags well behind its economic growth. To reduce the monthly electricity shortfall of 6.5 million kilowatts, Guangdong released regulations on Monday requiring all large-investment projects to go through energy-efficiency assessments before starting construction. Mr Huang said the new regulation would focus on energy-intensive projects with annual coal consumption exceeding 3,000 tonnes or any factories covering more than 1 hectare. Mainland media reported that the new policy was part of Guangdong's efforts to reduce energy consumption and pollution stemming from its economic growth.