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Grid operators bank on innovation for green goals

By Zheng Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-23 09:10

A technician checks a recycling power generation equipment at Tiexiong Group in Zouping county, Shandong province. [Photo by Dong Naide/For China Daily]

China's grid operators vow to further increase their utilization of renewable energy through greater cross-regional trade of new-energy electricity and technological innovation, after making major strides in clean power last year.

State Grid Corp of China, which runs the majority of China's electricity distribution networks, reported 550 million kilowatts of clean power generation installed capacity last year, accounting for 73 percent of the nation's total capacity of 700 million kW.

The installed capacity for wind power and solar power reached 146 million kW and 153 kW respectively, up 13 percent and 33 percent year-on-year.

The other major domestic grid operator and power distributor, China Southern Power Grid, saw clean energy power generation account for 89.6 percent of its total power traded among the five regions in the south last year.

Both companies vow to continue expanding their networks for clean energy and to expand inter-provincial trading of new energy this year, stepping up efforts to reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels and meet its booming power demand.

State Grid also said it would continuously improve the transmission ability of its power grid by putting more ultra-high-voltage direct current lines into operation.

Total capacity of renewable power-hydro, biomass, solar and wind-rose to 728 gW by the end of last year, according to figures released by the National Energy Administration.

The country aims to cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, while investing 2.5 trillion yuan ($362 billion) in renewable energy by 2020, the administration said.

Analysts believe Chinese grid operators should conduct more efforts to transport supply across the country to avoid waste of power.

Renewable energy is mostly generated in western and northern regions far from the cities and industrial centers in China's central and eastern provinces that consume it, said Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of China Energy Net Consulting.

He suggested the development of ultra-high-voltage power line construction to effectively send renewable energy over long distances.

Joseph Jacobelli, an independent energy analyst and Asia-Pacific CEO of clean energy producer Joule Power, said he believed the government's target of 5 percent curtailment rate by 2020 or sooner is achievable.

The country has been accelerating the use of clean energy and the fast pace, which will stop in the next two to three decades, has enabled China to become the undisputed clean energy growth engine in the world, he said.

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