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Nation switches on to renewable energy

By ZHENG YIRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-29 07:35
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Aerial view of a floating solar energy farm at a photovoltaic power station in Chunjiangyuan village, Jiande city, Hangzhou city, east China's Zhejiang province, May 17, 2018. [Photo/IC]

By the end of 2018, China's installed capacity for renewable energy reached 728,000 megawatts, up 12 percent on a year-on-year basis. It took up 38.3 percent of the total installed capacity, growing 1.7 percentage points year-on-year, demonstrating that the alternative role of renewable energy has become increasingly important.

The data were released on Monday during a media briefing held by the National Energy Administration. The installed capacity of hydropower stations, wind power stations, photovoltaic power stations and biomass power stations in 2018 reached 352,000 MW, 184,000 MW, 174,000 MW, and 17,810 MW respectively, growing 2.5 percent, 12.4 percent, 34 percent and 20.7 percent year-on-year.

"The utilization rate of renewable energy is constantly going up," said Li Chuangjun, deputy director of the new energy department of the NEA.

According to the NEA, in 2018, power generated by renewable energy totaled 1.87 trillion kilowatt-hours, 170 billion kWh higher than the previous year. Renewable energy generated 26.7 percent of the total power, up 0.2 percentage point year-on-year.

Hydropower generation grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year to 1.2 trillion kWh, and wind power generation surged 20 percent to 366 billion kWh. Meanwhile, photovoltaic power and biomass power generation reached 177.5 billion kWh and 90.6 billion kWh, growing 50 percent and 14 percent year-on-year respectively.

Also, as revealed by the NEA, in 2018, total hydropower wasted reached 69.1 billion kWh, and the national average hydropower utilization rate was around 95 percent. Wind power wasted totaled 27.7 billion kWh, and the curtailment rate dropped 5 percentage points to 7 percent. Solar power wasted in 2018 reached 5.49 billion kWh, and the curtailment rate was 3 percent, down by 2.8 percentage points.

"Ever since the government introduced guidelines on renewable energy consumption, large electricity companies such as the State Grid Corp, the China Southern Power Grid, and the Inner Mongolia Power (Group) Co Ltd, have been continuously improving system adjustment capabilities, and optimizing operations, so that the utilization rate of renewable energy grew significantly, and the situation of hydropower, wind power and power curtailment has eased to a large extent," Li said.

On Jan 15, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration jointly launched a guideline on China's clean energy consumption from 2018 to 2020, with a goal of achieving significant results in clean energy consumption in 2018, and basically solving the problem of clean energy consumption by 2020.

According to the guideline, by 2018, China's wind power utilization rate should be higher than 88 percent, while photovoltaic power and hydropower utilization should both surpass 95 percent.

By 2019, wind power utilization rate should surpass 90 percent, the utilization rates of both photovoltaic and hydropower should be over 95 percent.

Furthermore, the nation aims at raising both its wind power and hydropower utilization rates to 95 percent.

Li Li, energy research director at market consultancy ICIS China, said: "To achieve the goal, in addition to industry's efforts, reform of institutional mechanisms is also necessary."

"Clear positioning should be offered to the best application scenarios of different types of energy. Relevant supportive policies are also essential," she added.

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