China’s nuclear operator to develop 1 GW solar field

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Sources in Beijing have told pv magazine the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) is preparing to invest RMB17 billion ($2.43 billion) in renewables generation capacity in northern China, including 1 GW of solar panels.

The nuclear power company is also planning 2 GW of onshore wind capacity, with all the facilities to be built in the Inner Mongolian city of Ulanchabu.

The authorities in Ulanchabu 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, ready for completion in 2021.

Having been founded in 1994 in Guangdong province to operate China’s first nuclear power station – the Daya Bay plant – CGN has long since diversified into solar and wind power. The company claims to operate a 4.4 GW solar portfolio and 12.7 GW of wind facilities across all provinces of its homeland after funding more than 300 clean energy projects. The nuclear company also claims to have a 13.4 GW overseas renewable energy project pipeline.

The autonomous region of Inner Mongolia boasts excellent sunshine resources and the Inner Mongolia Solar Energy Industry Association said the construction of ultra-high voltage transmission lines in the province has enabled the authorities to set a curtailment target of near zero for solar electricity, and of 10% for wind power.