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Report: Power demand to rise faster in China

By ZHENG XIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-13 07:09
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Employees install power cables on a transmission tower in Jurong, Jiangsu province, on Monday. SHI JUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Clean energy holds key to enhancing nation's supply security, says think tank

Electricity demand will continue to experience robust growth in the coming three years in China, with total power consumption projected to reach between 9.8 trillion and 10.2 trillion kilowatt-hours by the year 2025, according to a think tank.

China's electricity demand has been steadily climbing in recent years, with the flexibility of the power system continuously improving, which has further facilitated the world's largest renewable power generation system, according to the Report on China Electric Power Development 2023 released by the China Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute in Beijing on Thursday.

According to the report, the installed capacity of pumped storage hydropower reached 45.79 million kilowatts by the end of 2022 and the cumulative scale of new energy storage was about 8.7 million kW, further facilitating the country's power system flexibility.

The integration of new energy sources has also shown sustained improvement, with the national wind power and photovoltaic utilization rates reaching 96.8 percent and 98.3 percent, respectively, it said.

The institute suggests better coordination of the layout of various types of power sources in the next three years, including conventional hydropower, pumped storage, wind power, solar power generation, nuclear power and coal-fired power, to contribute to China's green and low-carbon development as well as global emissions reduction.

Liu Qiang, deputy dean of the electric power research department of the institute, said, "China's power supply security has been further enhanced during the past few years, with total installed capacity of power generation in the country reaching 2.56 billion kW by the end of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 7.8 percent.

Additionally, the green and low-carbon transformation of the power sector has also been accelerating. In 2022, newly added capacity of non-fossil energy power generation was about 150 million kW, accounting for 83 percent of the total newly added capacity. Newly added non-fossil energy power generation was about 250 billion kWh, constituting 84 percent of the total newly added power generation, he said.

Liu said China's power system has gradually developed into the world's largest in terms of transmission capacity and highest in terms of transmission voltage levels while featuring a multi-region power grid that integrates both AC and DC transmission.

However, efforts are still required to make sure renewable energies are reliable sources of power, due to the fluctuating nature of new energy resources, he said.

Currently, despite the large-scale development of new energy sources, their operational capacity remains below 5 percent, making them unreliable as substantial substitutions. It is essential to further develop new technologies such as wind and solar power forecasting, integrated control technology, new energy storage and load control technology, he said.

Liu also suggested promoting high-quality development of pumped storage hydropower while simultaneously coordinating the planning of solar projects located in the Gobi Desert and other arid areas and the large-scale development of offshore wind power projects.

China's green energy industry has been developed through continuous technology upgrades. Li Chuangjun, director of the new energy and renewable energy department of the National Energy Administration, said China's new energy innovation has gone through technological introduction, digestion, absorption and re-innovation.

China's wind power sector has surpassed international levels in terms of technology of large-scale and floating units, with breakthroughs made in key components such as spindle bearings of high-power units and ultra-long blades. On the other hand, crystalline silicon photovoltaic technology in China has also continued to develop, with the efficiency of domestically-developed perovskite cells, a next-generation photovoltaic battery, reaching 26.1 percent, a new world record, he said.

The latest China-developed wind turbine, the world's first 16-megawatt ultra-large offshore wind turbine, can generate 66 million kWh per year, the equivalent to the consumption of 36,000 families for one year.

Hundreds of sensors and laser radars scattered over the whole machine can sense temperature, humidity, wind speed and other information to track the running state of the turbine and adjust the angle and generation of power automatically.

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