ABB: Building a green shield in desert

The anti-desertification efforts of ABB, Inner Mongolia Electric Power, and Ordos Electric Power Bureau succeed in protecting power transmission lines

Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Aug. 28, 2012 – Even as the summer in Inner Mongolia is coming to the end, there is still a patch of verdant vegetation growing along the power transmission lines in the Mu Us Desert of Ordos. Although this is a windy, sandy and barren desert area, along the tall 110kV high-voltage power transmission lines Salix mongolica grids are seen everywhere, and green vegetation is thriving. This is the encouraging result of the anti-desertification program jointly executed by ABB, the world’s leader in power and automation technologies, Inner Mongolia Electric Power (Group), and its subsidiary Ordos Electric Power Bureau. The recently planted trees form a long green corridor that prevents windstorms and holds down the sand on both sides of the high-voltage power transmission lines, ensuring the safety and stability of the local power transmission lines.

Located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ordos is one of the areas that have been most affected by desertification in China. The desertification has endangered the stability and normal lifecycle of the transmission lines of Inner Mongolia Electric Power Group, especially those of Ordos Electric Power Bureau, and has also affected the power supply, which can possibly cause huge economic loss for the region. Beijing is also deeply affected by the desert dust. As Inner Mongolia Electric Power Group supplies 1/6 of the power to the Beijing area, the reliability of the company’s power supply impacts the power stability of Beijing.

In order to reduce the negative impact of desertification and ensure a stable power supply to the capital, ABB China, Inner Mongolia Electric Power Group, and Ordos Electric Power Bureau began Phase I of the 3-year long anti-desertification program as early as in 2007. The China Green Foundation was invited to assist in the execution. As of 2010, 2,670 mu of desert along the Uxin-Tuke Line (Uxin Banner to Tuke Town) had been reforested. Based on the initial success, in 2011, the 3 parties signed another cooperation agreement to continue to improve the local environment.

Phase II of the anti-desertification program will improve a 1,400-meter long by 320-meter wide area, about 45 hectares in total, along the 110kV Uxin -Tuke high-voltage transmission lines in Ordos. The project will use biological sand barrier and plant trees and grass to anchor the dunes. Based on the local soil environment, vegetation that is appropriate for desert planting, and can remain in mutualism such as Salix mongolica, Hedysarum leaves, and Artemisia sphaerocephala krasch will be used, and the aim is to reach the state standard of vegetation coverage (over 30%). The sand barrier and vegetation will improve ecological conditions, control the pace of sand drift, and eliminate the threat to nearby high-voltage power lines. The sand barrier will also help to improve the ecological environment around Beijing. So far, Phase II has protected a total area of 19.2 hectares with Salix mongolica, and the seeding of Hedysarum leaves and Artemisia sphaerocephala krasch had been completed before this year’s rainy season.

The anti-desertification program along the Uxin -Tuke Line in Ordos completely changes the soil erosion in the project area and eliminates some potential safety risks. For example, the drifting sand may cause the pole bases to slant or collapse, and the piling of sand can cause the high-voltage lines to be too close to the ground. The program also boosts local agricultural and animal husbandry production, facilitating the sustainable development of forestry, farming, and livestock breeding in the area. The planting of vegetation can also bring extra economic benefits for local herdsmen, as each hectare can generate an extra RMB1, 200 for the herdsman every year.

Since the program started, senior executives of ABB Chinahave visited the anti-desertification site every year, checking on the project status. Han Yu, Head of Sustainability Development of ABB North Asia and China said, “Integrating the concept of sustainable development into our business operations is a core philosophy of ABB. Similar to our partners, one of the important means for us to fulfill our social responsibilities is to utilize advanced technologies to reduce the environmental impact of our own operations and aid in environmental protection. We are happy to see that the desertification prevention and control project has achieved some initial success. We will continue to contribute to local environmental protection and work with our partners to create a better world. ”

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people. ABB has a full range of business activities in China, including R&D, manufacturing, sales and services, with 18,300 employees, 35 local companies, and an extensive sales and service network across 80 cities.

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