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Transforming Abandoned Coal-Mining Areas: China’s Thriving New Energy Projects

Datong City, March 28, 2024, The Europe Today: Amidst the brisk winds that once whispered through the abandoned remnants of coal mines, a remarkable transformation is underway in north China’s Shanxi Province. The desolate landscapes, once characterized by silence, now resonate with the hum of machinery and the bustling activity of workers.

The focal point of this revitalization effort is the wind power photovoltaic project, aptly named the “Jinbei coal-mining subsidence area new energy base project.” Situated within a coal-mining subsidence area in Datong City, construction commenced earlier this year, marking a significant step towards rejuvenating the region. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2025, this ambitious endeavor is poised to breathe new life into the once-forgotten terrain.

With a staggering total investment of approximately 55 billion yuan (about 7.6 billion U.S. dollars), the project is projected to yield six million kilowatts of electricity, heralding a monumental leap towards sustainable energy production in the region.

Coal-mining subsidence areas, characterized by ground collapses resulting from underground coal extraction, have long been emblematic of the environmental toll exacted by coal mining. Shanxi, renowned for its abundant coal resources, has grappled with extensive subsidence areas, spanning over 3,000 square kilometers, as a consequence of prolonged coal-mining activities.

Wang Peng, an esteemed official from the new energy and renewable energy department of the Shanxi Provincial Energy Bureau, emphasized the transformative potential of developing new energy projects within these subsidence areas. By harnessing renewable energy sources, such initiatives not only enhance the efficient utilization of energy resources but also mitigate environmental degradation associated with coal mining.

Moreover, the strategic location of these subsidence areas, often nestled within industrial hubs or in close proximity to urban centers, presents an opportune canvas for the construction of new energy projects, thereby minimizing power grid transmission losses and optimizing resource utilization.

In addition to their environmental benefits, these projects hold immense promise for local communities, offering employment opportunities and fostering economic vitality. The photovoltaic power station in Shangshenjian township of Datong stands as a testament to this, having generated employment for scores of local residents during construction and subsequently prioritizing local talent for maintenance roles upon completion.

Shanxi Province has emerged as a trailblazer in leveraging coal-mining subsidence areas for renewable energy development, boasting photovoltaic power stations capable of collectively generating at least three million kilowatts of electricity. This pioneering spirit echoes across China, with provinces like Shandong and Anhui also embracing similar initiatives.

In the words of Wang, “New energy is the trend of future development.” China’s steadfast commitment to advancing new energy projects in coal-mining subsidence areas not only revitalizes erstwhile wastelands but also charts a sustainable course towards a greener, more prosperous future.