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The development of Large Scale New Solar Energy -Three Major Problems to be solved


"The development of New Energy on a large scale and in high proportion cannot be achieved overnight"; “China is developing new energy in a situation of rigidly high growth in electricity demand, and the energy system is facing huge challenges"; "Excessive utilization of new energy will lead to a rapid rise in the additional cost of the system"; "the current land constraints facing the development of new energy is beginning to emerge". This is what the journalist heard at the China Energy Research Association's "Possible paths for large-scale, high-ratio development of new energy" conference on December 13.

Experts at the conference believe that the technical system for transforming new energy into a stable power supply has not yet been formed and that the construction of a new power system with new energy as the mainstay faces many challenges such as power supply preservation, ecological red lines, and economics. The large-scale development of new energy needs to grasp the pace of transformation, taking into account the "energy security, sustainability, economic affordability" three elements to build a more systematic and prudent development path.

-Increased steely of power system scheduling complexity

In the industry's view, the unstable power output relying on the sky for new energy has increased the difficulty of power balance. With the gradual increase in the proportion of clean energy, electrification levels continue to improve, the focus on energy supply guarantee and the main body of responsibility will gradually shift to the power system.

"A high proportion of new energy power system is not only prone to problems of operational safety of the power system but also involves problems of supply security." Li Qionghui, director of the New Energy Research Institute of the State Grid Energy Research Institute, said that new energy power generation has a wide spatial distribution, a large number of individual units, and complex operational characteristics. At present, there are more than 6,000 large new energy sites in the State Grid operating area, and about 2.6 million distributed power generation systems with low-voltage access. In the future, there will be tens of millions of centralized and distributed new energy power generation units across the country, and the number of signals could reach billions. "High proportion of new energy power system is a multi-temporal scale, multi-level, multi-system coupling of a complex huge system, grid scheduling operation is more complex, complex massive control signal data brings network security risks."

"When the proportion of new energy in the system power reaches 30%, it is not only a matter of power system operation security but also a matter of supply security." Li Qiong Hui said that at present, the risk of widespread coal shortages and power supply tensions triggered by an imbalance in the domestic coal supply and demand pattern still exists. At the same time, the level of new energy sources at the same time is low and fluctuating, and the power supply security capacity is insufficient. The new energy "big installation small power", and "very hot no wind late peak no light" characteristics are significant. The average annual rate of new energy supply in the region is low, only about 17%, and its ability to support peak power are limited. Especially during the late winter peak, hydropower support capacity decreases, the photovoltaic output is zero, and the late peak of winter power supply load can only be included in the power balance according to the installed level of 15% of guaranteed output.

Rao Jianye, vice president of the Clean Energy Research Institute of the General Electricity Planning and Design Institute, also proposed that, unlike European and American countries in the case of basic saturation with electricity to develop new energy, China is in the case of rigid high-speed growth in electricity demand vigorously develop new energy, which put forward higher requirements for energy security to and energy transformation.

The reporter interview was informed that next year the power supply and demand situation will still be tight, with the adjustment of the epidemic prevention and control policy, many provinces will usher in economic growth and rapid growth in electricity demand may aggravate the electricity gap in some areas next year.

-Increased conflict between regional environmental carrying capacity

The experts at the conference believe that in addition to coordinating the consideration of new energy consumption and security of supply, the conflict between large-scale development and utilization of new energy and regional environmental carrying capacity should be considered.

The Bureau of Territorial Spatial Planning of the Ministry of Natural Resources has clarified that sporadic built wind power and photovoltaic facilities located in areas with extremely important ecological functions and fragile ecology can be assigned to the ecological protection red line, and new wind power and photovoltaic facilities should avoid the ecological protection red line. Some provinces and regions have introduced relevant ecological protection plans and policies, and some provinces and regions have proposed that more than half of the entire territory be allocated to the ecological protection red line and that mines, wind power, and photovoltaic projects that have been approved for operation under construction expire and are withdrawn.

Li Shaoyan, the director engineer of the comprehensive energy department of the General Institute of Hydropower Planning and Design, believes that in terms of development space, due to the low energy density, new energy development is highly dependent on land, compared to a million kilowatts of thermal power plant land of about 800 mu, the same scale of photovoltaic power plant covers an area of 25-30,000 mu, wind farm land 2000 mu (150,000 mu outside the envelope). Facing the carbon peak carbon neutral requirements, new energy sustained large-scale development facing land constraints began to highlight, for this reason, should first set aside space for new energy development in the spatial planning of the country while exploring the development of site integration, and diversified scenarios of the development model.

In Li Qiong Hui's opinion, to rely on technological innovation to crack the pressure of environmental carrying capacity, we can fully consider the ecological carrying capacity, encourage the development and construction of "new energy +" projects with ecological restoration, and accelerate the construction of large wind power photovoltaic base projects with desert, Gobi and desertification areas as the major ones.

-Reduce the transition costs of systemic measures

The industry believes that new energy sources are not the same as traditional power sources, and cannot be adjusted to changes in load demand, so ensuring energy security and promoting the "double carbon" goal will require economic costs over a long period, for which adequate institutional and policy preparation is needed.

"There are three dimensions that need to be considered to study the economics of new energy. One is the macroeconomic dimension, from the national level, the environmental cost, the development of coal power, although cheap, the coal power itself caused by the environmental loss of a comprehensive calculation down certainly less than the scenery." Li Qiong Hui said, two are the industry economics and project economics dimension, new energy parity, maybe from the project access, the project itself economics to talk, but new energy electricity in the power market at different times price is not the same, so now talk about parity more discussion from the project dimension to talk about the degree of electricity cost, but the problem is to talk about the project economics when not talking about industry economics, such a discussion is not much value. Thirdly, we need to look at the economics of new energy from the industry level or system level, and we need to consider the system cost of new energy consumption, the layout and timing of new energy development, not only the economics of the project itself but also the economics of new energy from the transmission to the terminal, from the overall power system.

Li Qiong Hui believes that the future needs to optimize the layout and timing of new energy development and systemic measures to reduce transition costs. Coordination between new energy planning and power system planning should be strengthened to avoid significantly pushing up the cost of power supply. Different development layouts and timings of new energy sources will bring different system costs. Studies have shown that from 2021 to 2030, new energy development using 'optimized development timing' can reduce the cost of electricity supply by around 1.6 percentage points compared to 'unstructured development'.

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