Two regional power grids in China were connected in May 2002, in a landmark step anchoring the nation’s ambitious move to transmit its rich hydro power from the west to the energy-thirsty east.

The State Power Corporation of China, which controls almost all power grids in the nation, said it has officially linked the Sichuan-Chongqing grid network, which covers Southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality, with grids in Central China, including Hunan, Hubei and Henan provinces, as well as East China’s Jiangxi Province.

With the 2200km transmission channel finally linking to networks in East China, the Sichuan-Chongqing grids are now able to sell its surplus electricity to the economic booming east. Analysts said the connection also aims to bail out the loss-making Ertan hydro power plant in Sichuan, as the transmission line would link the plant to power grids in Central and East China.