Nocton wrote:OK, dspp, but that would suggest that the Chinese do not have a National or even a large regional grid and this transmission link will be stand-alone. The transmission links that were built in the UK for coal-fired power stations are surely now carrying electricity from wind turbines, gas-fired power stations and solar panels? And when electricity arrives at my house there is no way I could tell where the electrons came from, even I had paid for a green tariff, unless there were a dedicated line from a wind turbine, say, to my house which was not not connected to the grid.
Perhaps the answer is given when you say "it will be predominantly renewables that goes along that link." (my italics)
The UK is quite a compact little country, but even ours is not quite the 'grid' that the name evokes. Redundant links maybe, full grid not. That's why a lot of the Scottish wind-renewables keeps getting transmission-constrained.
In China their grid is larger than ours, much larger, but again it is not a full 'grid'. I don't think any country has a full grid that can switch stuff any-old-way around unthinkingly. These new links are definitely being built to carry the renewables. Yes, they may carry some coal, just as the older (weaker) coal links will now carry some of the renewables. But they are being built to carry the renewables and wouldn't have been built for the coal.
Take a look at this for Qinghai: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... i_province
In particular look at how much hydro there already is, they will now build even more, plus wind & solar.
Then look at Gansu : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... s_in_Gansu which is at the midway point (ish). More coal I grant you, but these links are being built to enable the added wind, solar, hydro.
I visit China to meet my clients who are building this stuff, and planning even more. They are fixated on wiping out the coal. They know that more coal plants are being built continually (though that is tapering), but their very clear intention is to make them uneconomic to operate. So yes there is marketing nonsense in the ChinaPowerEtc press release, but these links genuinely are all about renewables. The pollution is a real internal political problem for the CPC so they will solve it, and solving it also solves a major external strategic threat to China (dependency on imported oil/coal/gas) so they are highly motivated.
(I'm sorry I cannot post a map - imgur seems to be down - anyone know why ?)