China’s Ambitious Plan to Build the World’s Biggest Supergrid

China is fundamentally rewriting the book on global infrastructure development. Its "New Silk Road" initiative calls upwards of $8 trillion in infrastructure lending from Beijing to other countries in an effort to kindle a "new era of globalization." China is also focused on its own infrastructure, with plans to build a supergrid with a major focus on renewables, aiming to lead the world in renewables consumption over the next 5 years. 89,000km of ultra high voltage lines should help do just that.

The sheer scale of the new line and the advanced grid technology that’s been developed to support it dwarf anything going on in pretty much any other country. And yet, here in China, it’s just one of 22 such ultrahigh-voltage megaprojects that grid operators have built over the past decade....The result of all this effort is an emerging nationwide supergrid that will interconnect China’s six regional grids and rectify the huge geographic mismatch between where China produces its cleanest power (in the north and west) and where power is consumed (in the densely populated east). By using higher voltages of direct current, which flows through conductors more uniformly than does alternating current, the new transmission lines dramatically reduce the amount of power that’s lost along the way.


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