January 11th, 2009
Well, it does read a bit like an advertorial, but this piece on 京报网 has some interesting things to say on Yanqing and its plan to become Beijing’s new/renewable energy base. It’s a little long and, well, a bit too advertorial, so instead of translating, I’ll just summarise [instant update: as I write this post, I find myself more paraphrasing than summarising and adding a fair bit of commentary, some of which is a little snarky, some of which throws my own personal experience into the mix, some of which…. oh, just read it].
It starts with a look at “the Beijing area’s only wind power station”, the Guanting windfarm. Small problem: The Guanting windfarm is actually in Hebei’s Huailai County. I think this article gives the clearer description of its location:
Guanting Windfarm is located at Langshan Windgap in Huailai County, Hebei Province, along the southeast shore of the Guanting Reservoir and bordering Yanqing’s Kangxi Grassland to the east.
Oh well, I suppose “next to” Yanqing is good enough. Anyway, when it’s complete and online, it’ll pump 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity into Beijing each year. Phase 1’s 33 turbines, using imported blades, already are online and feeding into the grid. Phase 2’s 10 turbines will use blades stamped “Made in Yanqing”. Pretty cool, huh?
Anyway, the rest of the advertorial is divided into sections, section 1 being “生态环境奠定发展基础”- Base of establishment and development of the ecological environment. Yanqing is Beijing’s only renewable energy demonstration district. The article somehow feels the need to point out “apart from tidal energy”. No shit. Yanqing’s about as far from the coast as you can get without leaving Beijing. In fact, Beijing just doesn’t have a coast. No coast, no tidal energy. Anyway, “apart from tidal energy”, Yanqing has already developed and put into use just about every kind of renewable energy resource. I’m not sure why altitude is important, but with an average altitude 500 metres higher than that of the central city and 2800 annual sunshine hours, it has the most abundant potential solar energy of any district or county of Beijing. Read: It’s much drier than downtown. Don’t believe me, come look at the state of our skin when lzh and I return from Spring Festival. Oh, and I suppose that regarding Yanqing’s average altitude, it should be pointed out that Yanqing is the eastern half of a basin and is surrounded on three sides be mountains, the highest of which are in the 2000 metre range. I suspect most Yanqingren, living in the basin, live only 100 metres or so higher than the central city. The Kangzhuang area is a well-known north China wind gap capable of generating electricity 1800 hours each year, and being a large agricultural county, energy from organic matter, such as methane and the gasification of straw, have “entered every home”.
Ah, right. My parents in law use cornstalks as sheep feed and as fuel for cooking- as in they put the dried cornstalks directly into the stove, no gasification of any kind. The sheep are pretty good at turning their quite varied diet into manure which is used on the fields, but the methane produced as other forms of organic waste rot is not, to my knowledge, used by anyone in the village. Unfortunately, it is just going to waste. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that very many are using the large amount of organic waste produced in agriculture to make methane and other biofuels.
Anyway, Yanqing has been named Beijing’s ecological conservation and development district, and as early as 2005 put forward its “Ecological Civilisation Strategy”, taking the direction of ecologically-friendly industrial development. Now, I’m not sure what the “五小 (5 Little)” and “三高 (3 High)” ecologically unfriendly industries are, exactly, but the “5 Little” are being shut down and the “3 High” either shutdown are reformed, and Yanqing is “ecologising” and “lightening” its industry.
Apparently Yanqing still has over ten thousand mu (1 mu=0.0667 hectares) of cheap and unused industrial land. And transport is pretty good up there, what with the separation of passenger and freight traffic on the Badaling Expressway (i.e., freight traffic has been (mostly- there are still a few idiot truck drivers who have managed to miss that message) kicked off the Expressway and onto the rebuilt G110), the new trains on the S2 Line, the Jing-Zhang High-Speed Railway (presumably Beijing to Zhangjiakou- and somehow I missed that one) and the upgrade of State Highway 110 (G110- and this, I presume, means what amounts to the construction of an entirely new highway dedicated to freight traffic and bypassing settled areas running roughly parallel to the old G110 which now carries pretty much only local traffic- and which, with the removal of the trucks, is now unbelievably safer).
The next section is entitled ” 新能源企业初具规模”- New energy source enterprises beginning to take shape. And it’s not just that new solar-powered tower-style thermal power plant whose translation I thoroughly mangled the other day, either. There is, of course, the Guanting Windfarm [ahem- in Hebei], Deqingyuan methane-fired powerplant at the foot of Songshan (wow, that’s awfully close to home, yet that’s the first I’ve heard of it, and that’s a very uninformative website). Datang Electric Power Company has signed the contract for its wind-power project (it doesn’t say where that is, and I’m having trouble finding articles that either aren’t reposts of this one, are about the Guanting Windfarm or are irrelevant), as has Tianwei Yingli Company for its photovoltaic? electricity generation project (really, what is 光伏热发电- the 光伏 seems to refer to something photovoltaic, but then there’s suddenly a thermal (热) element…) and are in the process of… settling? 落户- finding themselves a location?
The rest of this section may perhaps suggest who might perhaps have been behind the writing of this advertorial, discussing as it does a research institute and a couple of companies engaged in renewable energy and based in Yanqing- one of which will supply the blades for phase 2 of the Guanting Windfarm.
Or perhaps the motivation is revealed in the next section- a section whose title is giving me too much trouble. Anyway, this section discusses the signing of a framework agreement between Yanqing County and the Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park’s management committee to build together the “Badaling New Energy Source and Environmental Protection Production Base”, which will cover an area of 2.5 square kilometres. And this section does give some details on this base, but I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into all that, except to say it mentions developing wind-, solar-, hydroelectric- and geothermal-power as well as biomass energy, some very large sums of money, and the creation of ten thousand jobs in Yanqing County.
Advertorial, certainly, and it is a bit cheeky poaching the Guanting Windfarm in Huailai, but still it seems Yanqing has some pretty impressive plans to become Beijing’s renewable energy base, and that can only be good.