Clean energy powers poverty alleviation in Qinghai

By Liu Chengyou, Jiang Feng, Jia Fengfeng, People’s Daily
Light blue solar panels standing in neat lines and transmission towers linked by cables extending afar present a gorgeous view in a photovoltaic park at Tala Shoal in the county of Gonghe in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China’s Qinghai province.
Some 36 kilometers away, a hydropower plant is operating day and night in Longyangxia where water is pouring to generate electricity.
Tala Shoal, where nothing grew in the past, is now home to one of Qinghai’s two key clean energy bases with an installed capacity of more than 10 million kW.
The hydro-solar project is the largest of its kind in the world with a total investment of 45 billion yuan. A grid-connected capacity of 4.495 million kW of power has been installed after its completion.
The power generated by the 850MW photovoltaic plant is transmitted to the Longyangxia hydropower plant, and connected to the grid after being adapted by the water turbines, said Li Ju, who is in charge of maintenance operations at the Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. based in Xining, capital city of Qinghai.
The instability of wind and solar resources once hindered the development of new energy in Qinghai. Making breakthroughs through innovation, the Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. has tackled a number of technological bottlenecks and built a multi-energy complementary system. Its efforts has made unstable power supply a thing of the past.
Last year, renewable energy accounted for 86.5 percent and 86.2 percent of the total installed capacity and power generation of Qinghai, making the province a pioneer in new energy application. For the first time, the installed capacity of new energy in the province, which stood at 12.29 million kW, surpassed installed hydropower capacity.
In Qinghai, the remarkable development of new energy industry is accelerating poverty alleviation.
Yangjiashan village in Ledu district, Haidong of Qinghai was an impoverished village relying on collective economy years ago.
Xu Jianjie, who came to help as the first secretary of the village in the autumn of 2015, visited each household to learn about the poverty situation there.
“A villager named Yang Yinghe and his wife, both suffering from physical disability, lived a poor life. They couldn’t even afford a stove in winter,” Xu recalled, adding that the village wanted to help these poor people, but suffered from inadequate budget.
Apart from Yangjiashan, there were another 140 villages in the mountainous and remote Ledu district that had no industry to rely on and suffered from poverty.
Thanks to the photovoltaic power project, the situation in Yangjiashan village got better. Nearly 30 percent of the impoverished villagers are now supported by a poverty relief fund of the village, and 37 public-service jobs were created for the farmers.
“The sunshine has become an industry of the village,” said Xu, pointing to a distant mountain.
Atop the 3,100-meter-high mountain sit rows of solar panels, which look like shining fish scales in blue waves.
There are more than 100,000 solar panels on the mountain top and their life expectancy is 25 years. The solar power generation project was incorporated into a power grid and started operation last June. The project, which covers 66.7 hectares, is one of the 31 village-level photovoltaic poverty alleviation projects in Qinghai.
Statistics show that the installed capacity of photovoltaic poverty alleviation projects in Qinghai has reached 730,000 kW, which is expected to generate 570 million yuan for poverty alleviation. About 283,000 impoverished villagers, or 52.5 percent of the total impoverished population of the province, are benefited by the projects.
The projects are purposed to create an average 300,000 yuan for each village in Qinghai. 60 percent of the money goes to the village for developing industries, education and training, temporary rescue, and maintenance of infrastructure, and the rest is used to pay those who work public-service jobs.
Yang Fugui, accountant of Yangjiashan village committee, said this helps increase farmers’ income in a stable manner, and motivates them to work hard to get rid of poverty, adding that those who slack off won’t get any benefits.
Yang Fugui has planted more than 300 crabapple trees on the mountain as another way to alleviate poverty. By planting cash crops and establishing specialized cooperatives, villagers of Yangjiashan are approaching the goal of poverty alleviation and getting rich with greater confidence.

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