The city of Xi’an’s geothermal district heating in Shaanxi Province China serves as an example of the country’s decarbonization plans.

Over a year ago, so, China declared to the world that it would strive to peak its carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Behind this solemn commitment, a wide-ranging and profound economic and social transformation has taken shape.

Various levels of government are adopting low-carbon policies tailored to local conditions, and industries are exploring their own green development paths, making concerted efforts to achieve the ambitious goals. This includes green heating, green power and green logistics.

For green heating, geothermal plays a specifically important role, as highlighted by the example of Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. It was a freezing midwinter day in Xi’an, as Zhao Haiyan, 45, wore just a T-shirt and shorts at her home in Lintong, a suburban district of Xi’an as the temperature indoors reached 26 degrees Celsius.

Zhao lives in an affordable housing community of more than 400 households, which is equipped with Lintong’s first zero-carbon and zero-emission clean energy heating project and the first “geothermal+” new energy heating project. Residents were able to enjoy warm green winters as soon as they moved in back in 2018.

Home to the world-renowned terra-cotta warriors, Lintong and the surrounding area have rich geothermal resources. The geothermal heating technology applied in Zhao’s community has been updated to prevent any polluting of underground water reserves, said Wang Chao, director of the Lintong New Area Management Committee.

Statistics of the Shaanxi provincial government show that more than 100,000 households in its central plain area have enjoyed green and clean heating services, and the number is expected to reach at least 600,000 over the next few years, reducing the annual emission of carbon dioxide by 3.6 million tonnes than heating by burning coal.

Utilizing green energy has also brought additional financial benefits. “Based on the 70-square-km urban planning area of the Lintong New Area, comprehensive geothermal energy utilization is expected to create an annual income of about 8.7 billion yuan (about USD 1.37 billion),” said Wang.

The geothermal district heating in the province has been developed with Icelandic support as part of Icelandic-Chinese joint venture Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal with the Icelandic partner Arctic Green Energy.