IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 39

Main approaches to
rural electrification in china
For most of the developing countries in the world, the usual
manner for rural electrification has been grid extension. But
China has experienced multiple alternative solutions. These
solutions could be classified into grid extension from the
state power company and distributed local generation run by
decentralized power companies (DPCs). Out of 2,400 rural
counties in China, 716 (30%) are supplied directly by the state
power company, which owns and operates regional or provincial networks. Remote or smaller townships outside the
regional grid are supplied by DPCs. DPCs interconnected with

Self-Generation
Counties 28%

Grid
Extension 30%

Interconnected
Counties 42%

Figure 2. Three main approaches to rural electricity supply. (Source:
Barnes, 2007.)

Progress and Major Policies of chinese rural electrification

R

ural electrification, particularly the

A consecutive series of minor achievements,

energy. Some of the policies and programs

electrification of the remaining

such as electrifying one village in one province,

target the most remote rural populations that

unelectrified population, has been a priority

take the country closer to the realization of this

are least able to pay.

during the 12th Five-Year Plan period for the

bold claim. For all of the reasons behind the

The major program for rural electrification

central government and the National Energy

development, the governmental commitment

started in 1979, when the first governmental

Administrator (NEA). The year 2013 witnessed

has been recognized by many institutions

program was released, and then scaled up to

collective efforts to tackle the issue of the

and reports throughout the world. Many

the pilot program Brightness Program in the

unelectrified population. In particular, a three-

rural electrification programs worldwide have

1990s, including the Township Electrification

year special movement (2013-2015) targeting

been criticized for favoring mainly nonpoor

Program, and the Village Electrification Program

the unelectrified population from the NEA

and better-off communities. In the case of

in the 2000s (Table S1).

stipulates "to finish the construction plan of

China, however, the supply of electricity to

For the current efforts from the State Grid

PV-based stand-alone systems by the end of

rural areas is sometimes regarded and taken

and the China Southern Grid, in 2013, the

2013, of grid extension by the end of 2014,

upon as a social responsibility. Favorable

NEA, along with local governments, the

by the end of 2015 the current 2.73 million

policies from the 1990s and 2000s have

National Grid, and other institutions, has

people without electricity should be electrified,

played a significant role in increasing the

supplied 1.5 million people with electricity,

1.54 million by grid extension, 1.19 million by PV

rural electrification rate. Such policies range

part of the bigger target set in the 12th Five-

stand-alone system, totaling 583 projects and

from poverty alleviation, construction of

Year Plan of "providing all the unelectrified

29.4 billion CNY in investment."

infrastructure, and promotion of renewable

population with access to electricity."

Table S1. chinese rural electrification Policies and Initiatives.
Year

Name

Focus

Target result and comment

Early 1960s

Self-construction,
self-management,
self-consumption

SHP

This guidance boosted the SHP development by encouraging local stakeholders to use local resources and fund to
plan and construct SHP stations.

1958

100-County Pilot
Program

SHP

In 1958, a national meeting for rural hydropower development was held, and it was decided to develop rural hydropower quickly in the second Five-Year Plan (1961-1965) to
accommodate the increasing rural electricity demand. At
the meeting, preliminary rural electrification was proposed
in five counties and 100 communes.

1983

Suggestions to reinforce the development of rural energy

General

This was the first rural electrification policy by the Chinese
government as part of the government's poverty alleviation
campaign.
(Continued)

IEEE Electrific ation Magazine / March 2 0 1 5

39



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