The year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Over the past decade, China Southern Power Grid (CSG) has closely adhered to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits; taken part in the high-quality building of the Belt and Road by advancing the connectivity of infrastructure, the alignment of technical standards and exchanges between people from different countries; strengthened electricity trade and cooperation; created new growth momentum for relevant countries and regions; and written a new chapter in win-win collaboration.
Achieving win-win results and bolstering infrastructural connectivity
The connectivity of infrastructure is of utmost importance and one of core elements in the building of the Belt and Road. Over the past decade, CSG has fully leveraged its geographical locations, technical expertise and managerial strengths to further enhance the connectivity of the power sector among neighboring countries and regions, and help accelerate economic and social development, as well as the green and low-carbon development of the energy sector in the midst of the green development of the BRI.
In June 2022, CSG and Electricité Du Laos (EDL) inaugurated two-way power flow between China and Laos in a drive to optimize the cross-border optimal allocation and distribution of electricity.
Statistics show that as of August 2023, the volume of power trade between China and Laos had reached 156 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). Meanwhile, Laos had delivered 88 million kWh of electricity to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in southern China, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 35,000 households in a year and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 51,000 tonnes.
In early 2004, CSG built its first cross-border power line, which marked the beginning of the connectivity of the electricity sector of China and neighboring countries along the Lancang and Mekong rivers. As of September 2023, the trade volume of electricity between the two sides had surpassed 70 billion kWh, 90 percent of which was clean energy.
CSG launched its third power route linking Guangdong province and the Macao Special Administrative Region in November 2022, which increased the capacity of electricity supply from the Chinese mainland to the SAR to 1.7 million kW. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong SAR is connected to CSG through its 11 power lines, with the company’s maximum capacity of power transmission to Hong Kong reaching 1.8 million kW.
Furthermore, the building and investment of power-driven infrastructural facilities have also become an integral part of the overall efforts made by CSG to bolster the infrastructural connectivity between China and other countries over the past decade.
Laos-China Power Investment Company (LCPC), a joint venture cooperated by CSG and EDL, has been responsible for the building, operation and maintenance of the 257-kilometer-long power supply line for the Laotian section of the China-Laos Railway.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, CSG Guangxi branch has invested over 18 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) to promote the building of electricity lines and other facilities in six major cities along the Beibu Gulf, in a move to further advance the construction of a new western land-sea corridor.
Offering Chinese wisdom and facilitating the alignment of cross-border technical standards
Over the past decade, CSG has worked hard to promote the alignment, mutual recognition and application of technical standards in the undertaking and management of overseas infrastructural projects.
In 2021, a consortium formed by CSG, Chile’s largest power transmission company Transelec, and Colombian electricity transmission company Interconexion Electrica SA (ISA) won the bid for the Kimal-Lo Aguirre project, which is Chile's first high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission project.
The project, which is about 1,350 kilometers long, is the largest overseas power grid investment made by CSG in its history. Upon its completion by 2029, the project will deliver 12.4 billion kWh of green electricity annually from the Atacama Desert in northern Chile to the Chilean capital city Santiago and nearby areas, equivalent to the reduction of 9.4 million tonnes of carbon.
"The HVDC standards in China have become part of the international standards. During the project construction, we will actively cooperate with the Chilean electricity regulatory authorities, working together to establish local HVDC standards. This will enable more Latin American countries to adopt China's solutions and standards. We will promote the global recognition and adoption of Chinese technology and equipment, thus achieving the goal of deep cooperation and mutual benefits," said Gan Yunliang, chief technology officer of the consortium and a senior CSG manager.
Throughout the construction process, the Seo Chong Ho Hydropower Station project in Sapa of northern Vietnam adopted many Chinese technologies and equipment.
The building of the Nam Tha 1 Hydropower Station and the 230kV Power Grid Project of Northern Laos have also become typical examples in technical standards cooperation between China and other countries.
Additionally, CSG has continuously deepened its collaboration with foreign business partners on institutional building and redoubled its capital and human resource investment to advance the building of relevant projects and deliver tangible benefits to people in countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
In January 2023, CSG worked with the state power grid companies in Cambodia and Laos to establish a special committee to promote electricity standards in the Lancang-Mekong region. Moreover, CSG hosted two summits in September to further deepen the collaboration between Chinese and foreign enterprises in the Lancang-Mekong region.
Sharing development results and promoting people-to-people exchanges
Over the past decade, CSG has proactively fulfilled its corporate social responsibilities, carried out a number of public welfare projects, strengthened people-to-people exchanges and promoted the sharing of development results in the implementation of the BRI.
For instance, CSG has invested over 400 million yuan to build 11 residential communities, which have access to infrastructure such as electricity and roads, for Laotian people relocated for a hydropower station.
To help local farmers in Laos shake off poverty, agricultural experts have also been invited by CSG to share their farming and husbandry knowledge and skills.
What's more, CSG has given priority to the employment of local people, the cultivation of technical personnel, and the building of schooling facilities for host countries amid the implementation of the BRI.
For example, the Kimal-Lo Aguirre HVDC power transmission project is expected to provide at least 5,000 employment opportunities to the Chilean people upon its completion.
CSG has offered nearly 200 students from Lancang-Mekong countries financial aid in their overseas studies and cultivated professional talents for the local energy industry, supporting the power cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between China and their countries.
CSG has also kicked off charitable programs like the "Light of Hope" in Laos to provide local disadvantaged students with textbooks and other learning materials.
Standing at a new starting point, CSG will further strive for pragmatic cooperation, elevate infrastructural connectivity to a wider scope and new heights, expand its overseas investment, and drive the high-quality development of the BRI.