China, the key motion of development of renewable energy

China, the key motion of development of renewable energy

Lí Lifan | Associate research professor, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
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The government has an ambitious target, that by 2020 non-fossil fuel energy will account for 15% of the total energy consumption, and even reach 20% by 2030

Development of renewable energy has become an important development direction of global energy, each country has developed hydro, wind, solar and other renewable energy sources as important means in their national policy to address the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. Chinese government gives great importance to renewable energy development, proposing an ambitious target: by 2020 non-fossil energy will account for 15% of the total energy consumption and even reach 20% by 2030.

The current development of the status quo in the Chinese renewable energy industry

Renewable energy sources include wind, solar and biomass. In the power generation industry, the installed capacity of China's renewable energy reached 430 million Kw at the end of 2014, accounting for 32% of total power generation capacity, and renewable energy generating capacity was 1.2 trillion Kw, accounting for 22% of total electricity generation. China’s wind energy resources are very rich, the technological development of the current 70 meters high onshore plants, wind energy generation has  amounted to 2.57 billion Kw, the technological development for 80 meters high plants with a wind power density of 150 watts/square meter generated an installed capacity of wind energy of 10.28 billion Kw. Offshore wind energy technological development installed capacity was about 510 million Kw. The developed reserves of China's current solar energy are 0.4 × 108 power of 100 million Kwh, as mostly solar energy resources in the western provinces of the country's total reserves have surpassed 65% of total reserves. Solar photovoltaic power generation of the national installed capacity was 45 million Kw till the end of last year, ranking first globally for the the first time. From the view point of solar energy industry chain and development, the conversion efficiency of current mass production of polycrystalline silicon solar cells has reached 17% or more, localization rate of photovoltaic equipment reached 70%. The technology for biomass power generation matured by the end of 2015, the national biomass power generation capacity was about 10 million Kw, biomass utilization continued to diversify, all kinds of biomass energy scale is greatly enhanced. From our point of view the distribution of renewable energy sources, In order to achieve large-scale development of renewable energy, outward transportation cannot be avoided, But only basically in the west region.

The major obstacles for the development of China's renewable energy

First, low utilization rate. With the rapid growth of China's renewable energy technology, there were lots of shortages including the low utilization of these developments, an important reason for this was lack of coordination in the planning between various energy sources,. certain ones are mutually exclusive. Secondly, the management of renewable energy subsidies needs be optimized. Currently, payment of renewable energy subsidies recorded a certain lag, the relevant departments have not actively coordinated and solved problems, the management and efficiency of renewable energy especially needs improvement. Third, the rapid development of the early blind expansion led to large numbers of overcapacity, with lack of motivation from industry consolidation. For example, now in the wind power industry, there are only 20 or more relevant companies, compared to the peak period of  80 companies; and certainly, the local protectionism disturb the market into an abnormal development. Fourth, industrial development was totally restricted by a lack of innovation in science and technology, as well as talented people. China's wind power development path is based from buying licenses, technology introduction, digestion and absorption, then joint R&D to innovation. But in the overall design of core technologies and key components there are still gaps with the developed countries, and China is still seeking related financial products in renewable energy. Fifth, the financial system for renewable energy support was very small. Actively developing the distributed energy is an important measure to achieve energy structure change. As indicated before, in the field of distributed photovoltaic power plants, for example, the financial strength always in a small credit, and difficult collection on tariff, long period of ratification from the local government. Those shortages are still restricting the distributed energy applications.

The new plans of China's renewable energy

The overall plan is regularly focusing on environmental protection, the use of high technology and networking technology and expanding the overall strength of ocean energy. Now what will China do in the next couple of years to develop renewable energy.

First, the principle of overall layout of the development of wind power is carrying out wind power consumptive capacity within conditions of validity, combined with transmission channels and actively promoting the construction of large-scale wind power bases, and actively promoting offshore wind power, and promoting the application of Comprehensive Demonstration Area (CDA). According to such a layout of the overall consideration, in Northwestern, and Northeastern China by 2020, the construction will reach 170 million Kw in the future, accounting for 68% of total capacity.

Second, comprehensively promote solar power as mainly distributed photovoltaic power generation, then constructing the large-scale photovoltaic power plants, and actively promoting demonstration project of solar thermal power. According to this principle, in large-scale power plant layout, the construction scale will reach 80 million Kw at the end of the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan ," and once  distributed, they will also also reach 70 million Kw, while solar thermal power construction scale will reach 10 million Kw. In 2013, China’s National Energy Bureau announced there had been 18 distributed photovoltaic demonstration areas. The figure increased to 30 after Jiaxing New PV parks being included with the other 11. A total of 30 new demonstration areas were established in 11 provinces and cities in China.

Third, in terms of biomass energy, the development layout is more respectful to local development by promoting large-scale, industrialization, specialization and diversification. Untill the end of Thirteenth Five Year Plan, the national construction of large-scale biomass power generation project will reach 15 million Kw; additionally, the utilization of bio-fuel will reach 21 Bcm, and the amount of non-food utilization of biomass liquid fuels reached 6 million tons. However combining the construction of green energy demonstration counties, promote bio-energy cascade utilization cogeneration system demonstration, will be the major task force for biomass energy.

Fourth, improving price management mechanisms, conducting electricity market reform and price formation mechanisms, to continue to strengthen the information system construction, promoting the depth of integration of information technology and industry, and improving the process of project information management systems with deep reforms for energy market.

Fifth, in terms of international cooperation , mainly carrying out two aspects: one is the joint work on capacity, relying on the country's energy diplomacy, with the state "One Belt and One Road" initiative and multilateral international cooperation mechanisms, the second is to promote major international project development and construction; to lead China into the global energy market. In terms of ability to cooperate jointly with the other major powers,  promoting the domestic and international industrial technology, and formulating the technical standards, testing international mutual recognition and, certainly,  promoting more exchanges of international talents.

An important market in the renewables sector

China holds great a market for renewable energy, with the 2016 European Renewable Energy Platform (RHC-platform) gradually shifted into China, advanced technology and engineering practice will further promote domestic and international exchange, international promotion and standardization will create greater access to China.