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UPDATED: August 6, 2009 Web Exclusive
China Boosts New Energy Use
New energy will represent 17 percent of total installed power generation capacity nationwide by 2020

On July 30, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) held a working group meeting on promoting new energy development. At the meeting, the SGCC predicted that by 2020, nationwide new energy installed power generation capacity will reach 290 million kw, or 17 percent of total installed capacity. Nuclear power installed capacity will reach 86 million kw, wind power installed capacity will reach 150 million kw, solar power installed capacity will reach 20 million kw and biomass power installed capacity will reach 30 million kw.

"These are basically the targets of the new energy plan," an expert from the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission told China Business News. "But the plan is still up in the air."

An official from the National Energy Administration (NEA) said that, in addition to the investment before 2008, the total investment will reach at least 3 trillion yuan ($450 billion).

Higher targets

The targets of the previous "Medium to Long-Term Renewable Energy Development Plan" have risen. The target for solar power installed capacity for 2010 is 300,000 kw, and the target for 2020 is 1.8 million kw. The equivalent figures for wind power installed capacity are 5 million kw and 30 million kw. The target of the previous "Medium to Long-Term Nuclear Power Development Plan (2005-2020)" for 2020 was 40 million kw and 18 million kw was under construction.

"The plan changed a lot except for biomass power," the Energy Research Institute expert said.

The target for biomass power in the previous "Medium to Long-Term Renewable Energy Development Plan" for 2020 was 30 million kw. Annual use of biofuel ethanol was 10 million tons, and the annual use of biodiesel was 2 million tons. In other words, the average annual growth rates of biomass power, biofuel ethanol and biodiesel are 93 percent, 59 percent and 2.6 times, respectively.

Shu Yinbiao, Deputy General Manager of the SGCC, told China Business News that by the end of 2008, new energy installed power generation capacity was 21 million kw, which represented about 3 percent of total installed capacity. Nuclear power installed capacity was 8.85 million kw, an increase of 113 percent; solar power was 140,000 kw, a 40 percent increase; and biomass power was 3 million kw.

"By the end of June 2009, nationwide wind power installed capacity was 11.81 million kw, an increase of 101 percent," Shu said.

But costs are still high. The unit cost of wind power installed capacity is 8,000 to 10,000 yuan per kw ($1,200 to $1,500), a new energy expert told China Business News. Solar power costs 30,000 to 50,000 yuan per kw ($4,500 to $7,500), while nuclear power costs 14,000 to 15,000 yuan per kw ($2,100 to $2,250) and biomass power costs 12,000 yuan per kw ($1,800).

NEA enhances planning

"Photovoltaic energy is still under development," Liang Zhipeng, the sector chief of the new energy sector at the NEA, said at the meeting. "The manufacturing sectors are not ready to produce the 100,000-w class generator, and the scale of future electric plants should be 10,000 to 30,000 kw. We should also plan the development of large-capacity generators."

China should continuously build large-scale wind power bases, Liang said.

"We have planned several million-kw-class wind power bases in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hebei Province and Gansu Province," Liang said. "We must connect the wind power transmission grid between regions."

That requires enhanced planning, Liang said, including where to locate the new 10-million-kw electric plant and how to coordinate with electric grid planning.

"The power enterprises have an obligation to coordinate with the safe operation of the electric grids," he said.

According to Liang, the capacity of most solar roof photovoltaic plants is about 500,000 kw, but the large number of projects requires a large number of distribution networks. "We should plan to build large-scale photovoltaic plants," Liang said.

At the meeting, the SGCC issued the "SGCC Technical Regulation of Wind Power Plant Interconnection (revised edition)" and the "SGCC Technical Regulation of Photovoltaic Power Plant Interconnection (revised edition)." SGCC officials said they would perfect the corporation standard and promote it as the standard for the electric industry.

(Source: China Business News, Translated by LIU YUE)

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