Coal-rich Ordos setting green development pace

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Ordos in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region is changing to greener energy by gradually introducing renewable resources to help the country meet its goals for peak emissions and carbon neutrality, local authorities said.

The autonomous region has vast coal reserves, about 29 percent of the country's total. Ordos accounts for about half of Inner Mongolia's reserves, and the fossil fuel has been valued over the decades for the jobs it has created and the steady supply of power it has provided for development.

But success has come at the cost of high carbon emissions, and now the city is focusing on how to make the transition.

The good news is that Ordos is blessed with the means to make the switch, as is the region in general. In addition to coal, Inner Mongolia's broad deserts offer lots of wind and sunshine.

In October, the city released a plan for the "world's first net-zero industrial park", in partnership with a green technology company, Envision Group. The park is hoped to become a hub of a new "industrial revolution "along the Yellow River, they said.

The park is scheduled to open in the first half of next year, using clean energy supplied by wind and photovoltaic power, as well as energy storage facilities. When excess power is produced, 20 percent will be sold to the grid. Stored green energy will be retrieved from the grid when needed, ensuring a 100 percent net-zero energy supply, steady electricity and low prices, according to Zhang Lei, CEO of Envision Group.

Carbon emissions and energy consumption will be monitored in real time for optimal results, he said, adding that the park-which will mainly focus on electric vehicle batteries and the automobile industry-will provide useful experience for the transformation of other high-energy-consuming cities and the development of net-zero industries globally.

The battery production base at the park, with a planned capacity of 20 gigawatt-hours, is expected to provide batteries for more than 30,000 heavy trucks, as well as electrical storage of 10GWh.

Envision Group will cooperate with major automakers in Ordos to replace the city's 330,000 diesel trucks for coal transportation with electric ones, leading to a reduction of 30 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and cutting operating costs by 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion). It will broaden the use of new energy vehicles to environmental sanitation, logistics, public transportation and other sectors.

A hydrogen production program using green energy at the park will help decrease coal consumption in steel making and the chemical and biosynthesis industries in Ordos.

Hua Ruifeng, Party secretary of Ordos' Ejin Horoo Banner, where the park will be situated, said it will help promote industrial transformation, optimize the energy structure and develop innovative technologies related to the net-zero goal.

"The park will not only drive our new energy industries and promote high-quality development of the economy but also support new development ideas for the country," he said.

Luo Yuefei, 40, a government worker in Ordos' Kangbashi district, a major tourism area, said there has been rising awareness of low-carbon approaches in recent years.

"All buses in the district have begun to use electricity," she said. "There are many charging stations and electric motorbikes along the street.

"If clean energy can be applied in more areas, such as garbage and transport trucks, as well as heating systems, the air quality will be better and the environment will be better protected. I think it means a lot that a major coal area is dedicating itself to promoting the country's low-carbon strategy."

From Chinadaily Link: