Hainan Underwater Grid Project To Guarantee Power For Free Trade Zone

Hainan Free Trade Zone
Power lines are shown running from a power station (Photo: Reuters / Tim Wimborne)

As part of China's effort to attract more investors to its free trade zone in Hainan Island, the country is now preparing to test its latest underwater grid project. China has recently passed a number of measures in conjunction with the project in order to further develop the island into one of the country's biggest economic hub.

The latest underwater grid project will include a total of four 500 Kilovolt submarine cables that will be linking the island to Mainland China. This will allow the island's free-trade zone to have a more diversified source of power, which should be beneficial for investors that will choose to build their factories there. The substantial large power lines are currently in the process of going through its initial testing.

According to the EHV Power Transmission Co, a subsidiary of China Southern Power Grid, the project will essentially connect the Hainan Power Grid Interconnection Project I and the CSG Main Grid with the mainland's power grid. The two-way connection will reportedly guarantee the island's power supply even if its power generation plants are affected by unforeseeable events such as severe weather.

The system of interconnecting power grids will prevent occurrences such as the severe blackout experienced in the island in 2005 when it was hit by Typhoon Damrey. The typhoon managed to shut down the island's five power generators, causing significant losses for companies in the southern Chinese island. Following the incident, China had launched a number of power transmission infrastructure projects. This included the construction of the CSG Main Grid and the Hainan Power Grid Interconnection Project I.

Chen Jun, the director general at the Haikou Sub-branch of EHV Power Transmission Co, mentioned that in the past severe weather conditions normally led to a power shutdown in the island. However, with the power transmission infrastructures in place, companies won't have to worry about losing power.

The new project has substantially increased the island's power transmission capacity, from 600,000 kilowatts to 1.2 million kilowatts. The island's increased power capacity will be vital for its economic growth as more structures such as hospitals, schools, and factories are established.

As an added bonus, EHV Power Transmission Co revealed that the project itself should bolster Hainan's clean energy consumption. Majority of the power being sent to the island will come from two nuclear power generators built under the Changjiang program. Once the underwater grid project is completed, Hainan is expected to consume around 1 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually. This goes hand-in-hand with Hainan's plan to promote clean-energy vehicles. Hainan previously announced that it plans to totally shift away from fossil fuel-powered card by 2030. 

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