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Energy consumption continues to grow amid green changeover

By Zheng Xin | | Updated: 2023-11-23 13:13
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Two State Grid technicians check power transmission facilities in Chuzhou, Anhui province. [Photo by Song Weixing/For China Daily]

Demand for electricity in China is expected to continue growing considering substantial resilience and potential of the domestic economy, with total primary energy consumption in China expecting to peak between 2035 and 2040, according to a think tank.

Total energy consumption in China is projected to reach 6.4 billion and 5.3 billion metric tons of standard coal in 2035 and 2060 respectively, while national total electricity consumption will reach 14.1 trillion and 16.9 trillion kilowatt hours in 2035 and 2060 respectively, according to the State Grid Energy Research Institute Co Ltd.

While coal will continue to play a crucial role in the short to medium term in China as green power grows, it is as essential to come up with a safer and more stable operation of the power system amid the country's green development push, as most new energies are intermittent with rapid and random variables, making it difficult to maintain stable and steady power generation, it said.

The construction of a new power system in China, with an increase in the integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid, will further facilitate the country's ambitious goal of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, said the institute.

China's installed solar and wind power capacity saw robust growth this year, with domestic installed solar power capacity reaching 520 million kilowatts as the end of September, up 45.3 percent year-on-year. Installed wind power capacity rose 15.1 percent year-on-year to about 400 million kilowatts, according to the National Energy Administration.

China's total installed power generation capacity was approximately 2.79 billion kilowatts at the end of last month, rising 12.3 percent year-on-year, it said.

Jianbo Guo, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, an expert in power system analysis and control, said it is necessary to come up with various regulatory resources including pumped storage hydropower and electrochemical energy storage.

They will be playing key roles in adjusting the power balance and flexibility regulation, he said.

Electrochemical energy storage, or new energy storage, refers to electricity storage processes that use electrochemical, compressed air, flywheels and super-capacitor systems but not pumped hydro. It can ensure stable grid operations by shaving peak and modulating frequency for the power system, as power consumption during off-peak hours has a relatively lower cost.

New energy storage, an important measure that China has taken to empower its green transition, will become an important foundation for building a new power system in the country, said Guo.

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