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China claim, completes world's highest-altitude power grid in Tibet

Tibet,ChinaThe construction of the world's highest-altitude power transmission and transformation project was completed in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Sunday, putting an end to the days when the power grid of remote Ngari Prefecture is isolated from the rest of Tibet, benefiting roughly 380,000 residents along the line.

With a total length of 1,689 km, the project, which goes from Shigatse city to Ngari Prefecture, stretches across permafrost, no man's land and swamps. With a maximum elevation of 5,357 meters, it was built by over 30,000 workers in roughly 11 months.
In the old days, the tourism and stock-breeding industries have been underpinning Burang County's economy for years. As the industries have expanded, so has their demand for power supply.

Before the completion of the new power grid construction, the electric power in the region was mainly supplied by small hydroelectric stations and photovoltaic plants, which could just manage to see to the basic need of daily and production use. The insufficient power supply not only shackled the local economic development, it also posed a threat to a vital necessity: the hospital.
"The power insufficiency has largely hindered our normal operation as well as the diagnoses and treatment for the patients. Once we are connected to a larger power grid, the hospital will be supported by a more stable power supply system, and the existing medical equipment could play their roles," said Meng Junqi, deputy dean of the Burang County People's Hospital.

Last year, officials decided to put an end to the situation of power shortage, substantially improve the lives of the local people and unleash the economic development potential. In September 2019, the construction of the world's highest power grid project was started.
The construction of the power grid was anything but easy. With 120 gigantic transmission towers at an average elevation of about 4,500 meters, the project is an extremely difficult one of building a "power heaven road" due to the harsh construction environment, dangerous road conditions, poor logistics support and strict environmental protection requirements.

In Ngari Prefecture's Gar County, one of the power transmission tower had to be erected in an area with a swamp going as deep as 60 centimeters, forcing the workers to roll up their pant legs and trudge through the murky water. The temperature of plateau swamp is just slightly above the freezing point even at its warmest time during midday, leaving the workers merely three to four hours per day to brave the cold and get some work done.
It may only take a day to finish the construction of a simple 80-meter steel bridge on plains, yet up on the plateaus, the construction period has to be tripled. While the conditions there in summer is unimaginably difficult, work during winter is more challenging. With the soil frozen into rock-solid ground amid the frigid weather, major equipment had to be brought in.

Earlier this year, when the temperature plunged to minus 30 degrees Celsius, Huang Xiaohong was one of the workers on the frontline. Huang said one of their major duties everyday was to cover the holes, so that they would not be frozen up. Officials say the completion of the project will improve the reliability of power supply to support local industries and pave the way for the supply of Tibet's clean energy to a wider area.
"About 46.5 billion yuan (about 6.63 U.S. dollars) has been invested in the three 'power heaven roads', namely the Qinghai-Tibet grid interconnection project, the Sichuan-Tibet grid interconnection project and the central Tibet power grid interconnection project. With the fourth 'power heaven road' in place, Tibet will be cobwebbed by an interconnected grid system that covers 74 counties with a population of more than three million. The construction of the power grid will be a final solution to the ingrained power shortage problem that Tibet has long suffered from. It is also expected to bring a qualitative leap to the area's power-supply capacity," said Wang Yanfang, spokeswoman for the State Grid Corporation of China.

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