China Aims To Plug Renewable Energy Losses By 2020

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China may be the largest renewable energy generator in the world, but it still has to sort issues related to integration of wind and solar power in the existing transmission grid.

According to the National Energy Administration (NEA), curtailment of hydro, wind, and solar power projects is expected to drop this year, with the government planning to reduce it to zero by 2020. Curtailment of hydro power in Yunnan and Sichuan province is expected to decline to 10% this year.

Wind energy curtailment in Gansu and Xinjiang provinces is expected to decline to 30% while that in Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Inner Mongolia is expected to fall to 20%. Solar power curtailment is expected to fall to 20% in Gansu and Xinjiang provinces and to 10% in Shaanxi and Qinghai provinces this year.

The northwestern provinces are blessed with immense renewable energy potential but are the farthest from big energy consuming centers in southeastern provinces. Due to the intermittent nature of wind and solar power and the lack of adequate transmission infrastructure in the north-western provinces, a huge amount of electricity is wasted.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance also issued a map highlighting the provinces that have the greatest risk of curtailment. Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia were noted to have the greatest curtailment risk. Last year, 56.2 terawatt-hours of electricity was curtailed.

China has taken measures to reduce this curtailment. Last year, the National Development and Reform Commission mandated grid companies to purchase electricity from wind and solar power projects so as to let them function a set minimum hours in a year.

The NRDC has ordered that enough power from wind energy projects be procured so as to allow them to function for at least 1,800 hours in a year. The figure for solar power projects is at least 1,300 hours. The mandatory procurement will be applicable across 11 provinces including Xianjing and Gansu.