China’s Mega Power Project with 12 GW Renewables Share Starts Construction

A total capacity of 1 GW will be commissioned in the first phase


China Three Gorges (CTG) Corporation, a state-owned power company, has begun constructing the first phase of its 16 GW power project, which will comprise 8 GW of solar, 4 GW of wind, and 4 GW from other sources.

The ¥80 billion (~$11.81 billion) project is located in the Kubuqi Desert in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Ordos.

At the end of the first phase, 1 GW of the total planned power capacity will be commissioned.

CTG claims this is to be the world’s largest wind and solar photovoltaic-based project.

Once commissioned, the project is expected to generate 40 TWh of electricity annually for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, equivalent to one-tenth of the annual electricity consumption of the entire Hebei Province.

“The project will also improve local ecology, boost economic development, and drive the development of emerging industrial clusters of photovoltaic power generation, energy storage, and digitalization,” CTG said.

Lei Mingshan, Chairman of China Three Gorges, noted that the project would not only facilitate the government’s ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 but also expand domestic demand and promote investment.

According to the Chinese state media, along with the Kubuqi Desert project, CTG also announced another 26 projects related to new energy and environmental protection with an investment of over ¥109.05 billion (~$16.11 billion) and a total installed capacity of 19.64 GW.

A joint statement released to the state media by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration said that China aims to speed up the construction of solar and wind power generation facilities in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions to boost renewable power consumption by utilizing the solar and wind resources in the region.

Established initially to set up the Three Gorges Project and develop the Yangtze River, CTG now develops and operates large hydropower and clean energy projects across China.

The company just last month also announced the commissioning of a 10 MW centralized solar photovoltaic project with power storage stations in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

According to China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), out of the 121 GW of solar projects under construction in the country, nearly 108 GW of new solar capacity will be connected to the grid by 2022. The number put forward by NEA is nearly double the 54.94 GW solar capacity additions last year.

The country has installed 52.6 GW of new solar capacity in the first nine months of 2022, up 106% year-over-year compared to 25.56 GW installed during the same period last year.