The northern region of China is witnessing a remarkable surge in the construction of solar and wind power parks along its desert belt and this development is transforming the once barren and desolate areas into a bustling hub for renewable energy.
A mega solar and wind power base under construction in China's seventh-largest desert Kubuqi in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is set to become the world's largest power generation base of its kind.
Jointly undertaken by China Three Gorges Corporation and Inner Mongolia Energy Group, the project is designed with an overall installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts, equivalent to that of Baihetan, China's second-largest hydropower station, according to Chen Shicheng, who is in charge of the construction site.
Situated to the west of the Kubuqi Desert lies the Tengger Desert, the fourth largest in China, stretching toward the eastern part of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The first phase of a photovoltaic power project, with an installed capacity of 1 million kilowatts, is nearing completion and will soon be operational in the area.
The desert belt winds through several provincial-level regions including Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu and Shaanxi.
Since 2021, China has launched construction on a series of large-scale wind power and photovoltaic base projects in the desert regions, with a combined capacity of nearly 100 million kilowatts. The country is now planning a second batch of large-scale projects, and some of these projects are already underway.
With 2,600 to 3,400 annual sunshine hours, Inner Mongolia ranks second only to Tibet Autonomous Region in the country in solar energy resources. Solar energy has emerged as a primary focus for driving the region's energy transformation in the latest round of the energy revolution.
The region has attracted leading photovoltaic manufacturing enterprises such as GCL Technology Holdings Limited, Tongwei Co., Ltd., TCL Zhonghuan Renewable Energy Technology Co., Ltd., Risen Energy Co., Ltd. and LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. to shape up the whole industrial chain.
Xu Ming, plant manager of Inner Mongolia Tiansheng New Technology Co., Ltd., said the company has built a fully automated production line, which can produce three photovoltaic modules per minute and more than 2,100 photovoltaic modules per day.
Since the enterprise commenced operations in August last year, it has been running at maximum capacity to fulfill its orders. "The photovoltaic modules we produce are mainly used in desert areas," Xu added.