Solar Thermal Alliance: 2021 China Solar Thermal Power Industry Blue Book

The needs and challenges of new power systems

The ninth meeting of the Central Financial and Economic Commission held on March 15, 2021 proposed to build a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system, control the total amount of fossil energy, focus on improving the utilization efficiency, implement renewable energy substitution actions, deepen the reform of the power system, and build a new power system with new energy as the main body. This is the first time at the central level that the position of new energy in the future power system has been clarified. The construction of a new power system with new energy as the main body means that wind power and photovoltaics with strong random fluctuations will become the main body of the future power system, and the coal power that currently dominates will become an auxiliary energy stream. It is predicted that under the “double carbon” target, China’s total primary energy consumption will reach 4.6 billion tons of standard coal in 2060, of which non-fossil energy will account for more than 80%, wind and light will become the main energy sources, and mainly converted into electric energy for utilization; in 2060, the proportion of electricity in terminal energy consumption will reach 79% to 92%.

Academician Guo Jianbo of the Chinese Academy of Engineering said that the new power system is still mainly operated by the AC synchronization mechanism, facing challenges in terms of adequacy, safety, economy and market mechanism. Among them, the characteristics of new energy resources bring ample challenges to the power system: the power fluctuation is large, the prediction is difficult, and higher requirements are put forward for the system adjustment ability; the long-term high output brings challenges to the system safety and energy storage technology; the long-term low output brings challenges to the power supply guarantee; the power supply uncertainty is large, increasing the difficulty of system planning; the peak output power is large, the power is small, and the full consumption cost is large.

The characteristics of new energy equipment bring safety challenges: the system inertia is reduced, the power supply support capacity is weak, and the system stability problem is prominent; the stability characteristics are complex and the uncertainty increases, the security control strategy configuration is difficult, and the risk of mismatch increases; the broadband oscillation phenomenon occurs one after another, endangering the safety of equipment and power grid operation; the single body capacity is small, the number is large, and the regulation and operation are complex. Academician Liu Jizhen of the Chinese Academy of Engineering pointed out that the construction of a new power system requires the support of key technologies, and it is necessary to make breakthroughs from three aspects: the power supply side, the power grid side and the load side. Among them, the power supply side vigorously develops grid-friendly advanced power generation technologies, diversified complementary and flexible power generation technologies.

On August 10, 2021, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration issued the “Notice on Encouraging Renewable Energy Generation Enterprises to Build or Purchase Peak Regulation Capacity to Increase the Scale of Grid Connection”, which clearly pointed out: With the rapid development of renewable energy in China, the shortcomings and problems such as insufficient flexibility and insufficient regulation capacity of the power system are prominent, restricting the development of renewable energy on a higher proportion and on a larger scale。 In the future, China’s goal of achieving carbon peaking by 2030 and striving for carbon neutrality by 2060 is arduous and requires arduous efforts. The key to achieving carbon peaking lies in promoting the development of renewable energy, the key to promoting renewable energy development lies in consumption, and the key to ensuring renewable energy consumption lies in grid access, peak regulation and energy storage。 At the same time, the document encourages multiple channels to increase peak shaving resources. Undertake the corresponding peak regulation resources for renewable energy consumption, including pumped storage power stations, chemical energy storage and other new energy storage, gas and electricity, solar thermal power stations, and coal power with flexible manufacturing transformation。

New opportunities for the development of solar thermal power generation

Kong Tao, deputy director of the New Energy Division of the Department of New and Renewable Energy of the National Energy Administration, said at the “2021 China Solar Thermal Power Conference” that with the goal of carbon peaking, carbon neutrality and the construction of a new power system with new energy as the main body, in the long term in the future, China’s wind power and photovoltaics will develop at a faster speed, which also brings new opportunities for the development of the solar thermal industry.

First, there is a demand for solar thermal power generation as a peak shaving power source in some parts of China. – Some areas for large-scale development and utilization of new energy do not have the construction conditions for flexible power sources such as pumped storage and gas power, and it is difficult to increase the installed capacity of coal power due to ecological protection and other reasons, and there is a lack of solutions to provide peak regulation capacity for new energy. Therefore, the construction of solar thermal power stations as peak shaving power sources in these areas is conducive to improving the consumption problems that occur in the rapid development of new energy.

Second, participating in the electricity market is conducive to ensuring the sustainable development of the solar thermal industry after the withdrawal of state subsidies. At present, the construction cost of solar thermal power station is high, and the economical construction as an ordinary power supply is insufficient. At present, the construction of electricity spot markets and auxiliary service markets in some places is advancing in an orderly manner, and the solar thermal power generation as a peak-shaving power source, its flexible and adjustable output and long-term energy storage will be able to win more benefits for the project through market-oriented methods, thus effectively supporting the sustainable development of the domestic solar thermal industry.

Third, through the accumulation of project construction and operation experience, it is conducive to participating in international market competition. In recent years, the Middle East, North Africa and other areas rich in solar energy resources have begun to use solar thermal power generation as a solution for continuous use of renewable energy generation, the use of solar thermal power generation at night and photovoltaic peak regulation during the day, solar thermal power generation in these areas has a good market prospects. Continuous accumulation of construction and operation experience in peak shaving through domestic solar thermal projects will make China’s solar thermal industry more competitive in the international market.

The National Energy Administration has been actively supporting the development of the solar thermal power generation industry. During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, we will continue to support the construction of a certain scale of CSP power generation projects in areas with high-quality resources, through the integrated construction of wind power and photovoltaic power generation bases, give full play to the regulatory role and system support capacity of CSP power generation, and ensure the continuous development of the CSP industry.

The Notice on Matters Related to the 2021 New Energy Feed-in Tariff Policy issued by the National Development and Reform Commission on June 7, 2021 proposes: Encourage all localities to introduce targeted support policies to support the sustained and healthy development of new energy industries such as photovoltaic power generation, onshore wind power, offshore wind power, and solar thermal power generation. The State Council’s “Carbon Peak Action Plan before 2030” clearly states: actively develop solar thermal power generation, and promote the establishment of a comprehensive renewable energy power generation base for wind and solar thermal power generation, photovoltaic power generation and wind power complementary regulation。 Accelerate the construction of a new power system。 Construct a new power system with a gradual increase in the proportion of new energy, and promote the large-scale optimal allocation of clean power resources。 Vigorously improve the comprehensive regulation capacity of the power system, accelerate the construction of flexible regulation of power sources, and accelerate the demonstration and application of new energy storage。

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