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Policy, technology key to new energy system

By LIU YUKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-03 07:49

The first phase of a renewable energy project in the Tengger Desert in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region is expected to generate 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours each year. [CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

The development of a new energy system will be bolstered by better policy management and technological advancements, as highly fluctuating renewable energy sources connect to the grid, posing challenges for stable power generation, experts said.

The key measures include strengthening standards in the new energy sector and improving the calculation and verification system of carbon emissions, they said.

Further steps are expected to accelerate the construction of a national unified electricity market and improve the coal-fired power pricing mechanism, the experts said.

Meanwhile, efforts must be heightened to speed up research and development of new energy storage technologies and advance the digitalization of power grids, they added.

Shi Yubo, head of the China Energy Research Society, said the key to accelerating the planning and construction of a new energy system lies in the building of a new power system. In the future, as a high proportion of non-fossil energy sources connect to the grid, the power system will undergo profound changes.

Guo Jianbo, senior adviser of State Grid Corp of China and honorary president of the China Electric Power Research Institute, said power generation from renewable energy sources is highly random and volatile, and the large-scale substitution of conventional power generation units by renewable energy units poses a risk to stable and safe operations, as well as challenges like lower economic viability for some companies.

According to data from the National Energy Administration, in the first quarter of 2023, the country had 47.4 million kilowatts of renewable energy installations, a year-on-year increase of 86.5 percent, accounting for 80.3 percent of the newly installed capacity of all energy types.

As of the first quarter, total installed capacity of renewable energy in China reached 1.258 billion kW.

The proportion of new energy's installed capacity will rise to 41 percent of the total energy types by 2030, while the percentage of power generation from renewables will grow to 22 percent, according to estimates from the State Grid Energy Research Institute.

To deal with problems in the establishment of new power systems, experts said it is necessary to have coal-fired electricity generation as a mainstay in the short-term, develop power storage technologies, promote the digitalization of grids and encourage the setting up of virtual power plants.

Guo said further efforts are needed to innovate technologies, including carbon capture, utilization and storage, to promote clean and low-carbon coal-fired power generation.

According to Guo, pumped-storage hydropower will remain the most competitive type of energy storage before 2030 due to its safety, high efficiency and cost-effectiveness, along with rapid development of new types of energy storage technologies that are expected to become more prominent in the future.

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