There are some places on Earth that just lend themselves naturally to wind and solar power. Inner Mongolia, with its abundant sunshine and steady breezes, is one of them. This week, China General Nuclear Group announced it is investing almost $2.5 billion to build a 1 gigawatt solar power plant there, as well as a 2 gigawatt (GW) wind farm.
According to PV Magazine, all the components of the wind farm will be manufactured in the Inner Mongolia city of Ulanchabu. Authorities in that city say compliance reviews and administrative procedures will be carried out in the first half of next year, with construction due to start on the massive renewables project by August, with a completion target of 2021.
One thing Inner Mongolia is not is close to China’s urban and industrialized areas, which means all that renewable energy has to transmitted over ultra high voltage transmission lines to where it is needed. The Inner Mongolia Solar Energy Industry Association says those transmission lines are now in place, which makes it possible for local authorities to set curtailment targets for solar at near zero and for wind power at a maximum of 10%. You can see some of those transmission lines in the background of the photo above.
Some may find it curious that a corporation known as China General Nuclear is in the renewables business. PV Magazine explains that CGN was created in 1994 in Guangdong province to operate China’s first nuclear power station at Daya Bay, but diversified into wind and solar many years ago. Today, it is a participant in more than 300 clean energy projects in China. It has a 4.4 GW solar portfolio and operates 12.7 GW of wind facilities across all provinces in China. CGN also has an international footprint with wind farms in the UK, France, and Australia.
CGN has drawn the ire of Trump trade officials, who have added it to a list of Chinese companies that US business are prohibited from doing business with. According to CNBC, the current maladministration asserts CGN is “engaged in or enabled efforts to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for diversion to military uses in China.”
Thanks to the xenophobia rampant in Washington, DC these days from the Tweeter in Chief on down, we now know every person of Chinese descent alive today is actually a spy for the central government and is intent on destroying the American way of life. Not since the heady days of Joseph McCarthy and the Red Menace have Americans had so many reasons to be fearful of foreigners. It’s as if America needs a constant parade of bogeymen to define its national character — such as it is.