At the 2024 analysis forecast conference on the economic situation and development of the energy industry in China, the China Electricity Council predicted that the capacity of newly installed power generation in China will exceed 300 million kilowatts in 2024. The power generation will reach about 1.3 billion kilowatts, surpassing coal power for the first time exceed, which will increase the share of total capacity to around 40%.

China's installed new energy capacity reaches record high

Over the past year, China's overall green and low-carbon transition has accelerated. By the end of 2023, China's power generation capacity was 2.92 billion kilowatts, up 13.9% year-on-year. The installed capacity of non-fossil energy reached 1.57 billion kilowatts, accounting for 50% of the total installed capacity for the first time. It reached 53.9%, an increase of 4.4 percentage points compared to the previous year.

China's wind power, photovoltaics and other new energy resources have always maintained a leading position in the world. The construction of large wind power and photovoltaic systems has been accelerated, with a focus on deserts, the Gobi and desert areas. The first batch was completed and integrated into the grid with an output of over 45 million kilowatts. The second and third batches of over 50 million kilowatts have been approved and construction is underway. In 2023, the newly installed capacity of wind power and photovoltaic power generation accounted for 78.8% of the total newly added installed capacity, representing the absolute majority. The total installed capacity of wind power and photovoltaics in China increased from 760 million kilowatts at the end 2022 to 1.05 billion kilowatts at the end of 2023, accounting for 36% of total installed capacity.

Adopt comprehensive policies to promote new energy consumption

Given the current pace of installation of new energy sources, it is expected to exceed the installed capacity of coal-fired power plants in China for the first time this year. While the rapid development of new energy sources supports the transition to green and low-carbon energy, it also poses challenges for the stability and security of the electricity system and the consumption of new energy.

It is a systematic project to promote a high proportion of new energy network connections and consumption. The expert suggested that the support of regulatory coal energy should be distributed rationally, peak-load gas energy should be appropriately distributed, the construction of leading hydroelectric power stations in the basin should be vigorously promoted, the capacity of existing hydroelectric power stations should be expanded, and the construction and renovation of pumped storage power stations should be promoted . The construction of new energy storage and the integration of generation, grid, load and storage should be actively promoted in order to continuously improve the comprehensive adaptability of the electricity system.

“As the installed capacity of new energy continues to increase, it is indeed a challenge to effectively use green power.” The expert said that this requires us to start from many aspects and take comprehensive measures to solve the problem, including strengthening the construction of power grid infrastructure, promoting distributed generation and local consumption, developing energy storage technology, strengthening the construction of regional electricity markets and improving the level of demand management.

The construction of important power grid projects has been accelerated

In March this year, the ±800 kV UHVDC transmission project from northern Shaanxi to Anhui started. The project will expand China's “West-East Power Transmission” with a major artery that, once completed, will be able to transport more than 36 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from Shaanxi to Anhui each year. The Northern Shaanxi-Anhui UHVDC project is a key project in the strategic implementation of the national new power grid construction and new energy system construction, and is also the first UHVDC transmission channel with a high proportion of renewable energy consumed in Anhui. The project will access 11 million kilowatts of new energy such as supporting wind power and photovoltaics and 4 million kilowatts of supporting coal power, which can promote large-scale development and use of clean energy in Shaanxi.

The 2024 government work report proposed strengthening the construction of large-scale wind and photovoltaic power plants and transmission routes, promoting the development and use of distributed energy, and improving the capacity of the power grid to absorb, distribute and regulate clean energy. With the rapid increase in installed capacity of new energy, the construction of power grid projects has accelerated this year to ensure good and rapid delivery of clean power.

Currently, the ±800 kV UHVAC projects Jinshang-Hubei, Longdong-Shandong, Ningxia – Hunan, Hami-Chongqing and the 1000 kV UHVAC projects Wuhan – Nanchang, Zhangbei-Shengli and Sichuan-Chongqing are fully supported. The orderly arrangement of large-scale wind energy photovoltaic system supply channels and the continuous improvement of the main grid framework have laid a solid foundation for large-scale new energy consumption, safe operation of the grid and stable power supply.

Take a scientific look at the level of use of new energy

In recent years, China's new energy has achieved high-quality development, with an average annual installed capacity growth of 26% and a utilization rate of over 95% for five consecutive years. However, as the installed capacity of new energy resources continues to expand, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain high levels of consumption. Blindly aiming for a high consumption share is not a sensible strategy.

From a global perspective, as the permeability rate of new energy generation increases, the curtailment rate also increases, which has become an objective law. In Europe and the USA there are varying degrees of restrictions on electricity generation from new energy sources. In 2020, the curtailment rate for wind power is generally between 3% and 11%. According to relevant studies, the critical point for the transmission rate of new energy generation is between 30% and 40%. The truncation rate is generally not high within the critical value and the truncation rate will increase significantly beyond the critical value.

In fact, the use of new energy resources is not the higher the better. At a certain stage of development and above the value, every step of increasing the use of new energy must be associated with huge consumption costs and the increase in social energy. The scope of development of new energy sources will also be limited. International scientists have proposed the concept of “economic power constraint” for new energy to avoid the additional costs incurred by consuming new energy during peak periods.

In connection with the high permeability of new energy, it is economical and necessary to maintain the level of rational use. Huang the consumption of new energy.

In June 2022 the “14th” was celebrated. Five-Year Plan for the Development of Renewable Electricity” jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, the National Energy Administration and other nine departments. By 2025, China's total consumption rate of renewable electricity and non-hydropower will reach about 33% and 18%, respectively, and the utilization rate will remain at a reasonable level.

The experts suggest that the rational use rate of new energy should be related to its penetration rate. Based on the clarification of the overall utilization target for the whole country, the utilization target for each province should be set differently according to the resource endowment and the actual situation, with the aim of increasing the proportion of new energy generation.

At the same time, the expected utilization rate of each province should be continuously calculated and published, and the investment of new energy generation companies should be managed.

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