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Beautiful scenery, healthy food for happier life in Lishui

By ZHUANG QIANGE| China Daily| Updated: February 1, 2024 L M S


A technician of the local power supply company of State Grid Corp of China provides power usage guidance to a tea grower in Lishui, Zhejiang province. [WU AILING/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Ye Lifang, who used to operate a hotel with restaurants in Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang, for over a decade, had always dreamed of opening a homestay of her own.

In 2017, Ye traveled all over the country to seek a suitable place for a homestay.

Finally, lured by the beautiful scenery of Yantou village within the Ancient Weir-Home of Painting (Guyan Huaxiang) scenic area in Lishui, a prefecture-level city in Zhejiang, she invested over 7 million yuan ($958,900) in her homestay "Residency 85", designing many public spaces, including bookstores and coffee shops as part of it.

According to Ye, homestays should not only be rooms for guests but also places where people can sit down and feel good.

Currently, she earns about 2.6 million yuan each year from her homestay, and employs more than 30 local villagers.

She has shown that one can make money from "selling scenery "and "providing healthy food".

More local villagers are joining Ye in cleaning their own courtyards, beautifying their surroundings, and opening homestays to attract visitors.

Green push

"It is awesome to see the environment improving in my hometown," Ye said, adding that she is extremely thankful for assistance from the local power supply company of State Grid Corp of China, which has been crucial to energy security and economic development of the region.

State Grid Liandu District Electric Power Co — a unit of State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power — is trying to develop a "zero-carbon demonstration scenic area" and usher in a model of "zero-carbon economy" in the area.

"They are helping the scenic spot undergo a low-carbon transformation, making the surrounding mountains greener and the local waters cleaner," she said.

China is making all-out efforts to realize the dual goals of carbon peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.

At present, there are 34 small hydropower stations in Dagangtou township and the surrounding Fengyuan township, with a total installed capacity of 25,800 kilowatts and average annual power generation of about 72 million kilowatt-hours, meeting the basic energy needs of the scenic spot.

Meanwhile, the local power supply company is designing complementary power generation capacity of 7,000 kW from agricultural photovoltaic facilities, and 100,000 kW of wind power.

According to Wu Ailing from Liandu District Electric Power, thanks to the promotion of household rooftop photovoltaic facilities in the scenic spot in recent years, clean electricity generated by villagers' rooftop photovoltaics has been fully integrated into the local power grid, offering them an additional annual income of 100,000 yuan.

"In terms of power supply, it is entirely possible to achieve a 100 percent zero-carbon electricity supply for the Ancient Weir-Home of Painting scenic area," she said.

To ensure safe connection and transmission of new energy, the State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power fully utilizes drones, robots and artificial intelligence to enhance the intelligent operation and maintenance of the power grid.

By integrating such communication methods as the BeiDou navigation satellite system and 5G to deepen the digital transformation of the power grid, the company has enabled the core areas of the scenic spot to achieve self-healing for power faults within seconds.

Even in the event of an electricity failure, it can automatically switch to power supply from its own energy storage for two hours, making an emergency repair without undergoing a complete power outage, Wu said.

Changing environment

The changing local environment is luring more people to return to their roots.

In 2017, Lyu Xuli, who had been working outside her hometown for many years, returned and transformed her old house into a homestay.

Compared to her previous job as a salesperson in cities, Lyu prefers a slow life in the countryside, which is becoming more beautiful than ever.

"Previously, after a busy year, I could earn less than 100,000 yuan. But now, with my own homestay, I can not only live the life I had dreamed of but also double my income," she said.

"With a better rural environment and development opportunities, more young people are willing to come back to the countryside," Ye said.

With the increasing popularity of the scenic area, Ye's daughter has also returned to Yantou and helped her mother open a second homestay. She has also helped her open a rural library and a specialty restaurant.

"With the improved environment, my businesses will boom in the future," Ye said.