Tibet's energy industry is a dichotomy -- rich resources, yet it has a bigger power shortage problem than in other parts of China. CCTV reporter reports on the reason for the irony -- and what's being done about it.
Tibet's capital city, Lhasa is called the city of sun. Tibet's annual solar resources -- can power China for 100 years.
In hydropower and geothermal power resources, Tibet also ranks No.1 in China. Renewables make up 43% of Tibet's energy mix. That's three times more clean energy than the rest of the country.
Witness the amazing gifts from nature! The electricity generated by the yangbajing geothermal plant is enough to power 50,000 Tibetan households.
Bian Dun, has seen 24 years of development, at China's first and biggest geothermal plant.
He said, "The beauty is the stable supply. Geothermal diversifies Tibet's energy mix. Tibet mainly has hydro power, so there's a power shortage in winter. Geothermal is more stable, there's no seasonal impact."
Tibet's power challenges are manifold. The high altitude and difficult climate -- take a toll on power equipment and the people that run them.
Unlike in the rest of the country, Tibet's residential power usage is a much bigger portion of the total than industrial usage, that means less tariff revenue for power plants.
Difficulties aside, the potential for geothermal power is enormous -- China has 100 megawatts of installed capacity, that's less than one sixth of Iceland's capacity.
Bian said, "Because china is going big on geothermal power, private firms want to invest, they come to seek advice from us, like Longyuan, we are working together."
Developing energy has been welcomed by locals, because they're the first to benefit.
Bian also added, "Local herders are very positive to us, as soon as the power plant was built, they started using the electricity, we have a preferential herder tariff, so they get a discount."
The Tibetan government plans to double investments in generating capacity and grid construction over the next five years. More power without clouding Tibet's incredibly blue skies? The answer may be in the ground.