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World's biggest ultra-high voltage line powers up across China

State Grid Corp. of China has started up the world’s longest and most-powerful ultra-high voltage power line from its far northwest to the heavily populated east.

The 1,100-kilovolt direct-current Changji-to-Guquan project stretches 3,293 kilometers, the nation's biggest electricity distributor said in a statement Wednesday. That's roughly the distance between Los Angeles and Cleveland. The CNY 40.7 billion (USD 5.9 billion) project, which the company referred to as the "Power Silk Road," was approved in December 2015 and construction started the next month.

China has increasingly relied on UHV technology to send electricity from remote regions with excess supply to areas of higher demand. Xinjiang, where the new line starts, is home to large-scale wind and solar projects, but also the nation's worst curtailment rates, or capacity that is idle because of grid congestion, according to the National Energy Administration. The NEA has also banned the construction of new coal-fired plants in Xinjiang, as well as 20 other provinces, because of an expected overcapacity.

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