Industry Report: Promoting Renewable Energy Integration with Flexibility Upgrades of Thermal Power Plants
In March 2018, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration issued the "Guiding Opinions on Enhancing Power System Adjustability," in order to achieve China’s goals to raise non-fossil energy consumption to 15% of the total energy consumption by 2020 and 20% by 2030, and in order to meet the needs of electricity supply security and the coal to gas transition for the heating season. The guideline proposes to accelerate the promotion of power supply adjustability, including the implementation of thermal power plant flexibility upgrading projects, the construction of various types of flexible power supply, and the development and adoption of new types of energy storage technologies. The Guiding Opinions also encourage the participation public investment in the upgrading of power system adjustability, including thermal power flexibility retrofits and the construction of different types of energy sources and large-scale storage units to shift peak load. In order to push forward the flexibility upgrading of thermal power and promote the adoption of renewable energy, China Coal Cap Project’s research group at North China Electric Power University conducted in-depth case studies and policy research – and on April 3, 2018, the China Coal Cap project released its latest research report "Pushing Forward Power Sector Reform to Increase Renewable Energy Adoption".
The report first reviews the results of coal consumption cap work in the power sector in 2017, synthesizing coal-fired power supply and demand and renewable energy penetration trends to quantify coal power generation and coal cap efforts in the past year, breaking down the impacts of a range of supply-side coal cap measures. Second, the report analyzes the characteristics of the power sector under the “New Economic Normal,” forecasting electricity supply and demand for the years following China’s 13th Five Year Plan period. The Report proposes and quantifies the potential demand-side management, strengthened renewable energy adoption, economic dispatch, improved energy efficiency, as well as other supply-side reforms. The impact of thermal power flexibility retrofits – an important power sector supply-side measure – on the integration of wind energy was also systematically analyzed. Finally, the report analyzes the supply and demand outlook of the power sector for 2018, calculating the scale of coal consumption in the power sector, and proposing several power sector supply-side reform policy to accelerate the integration of wind energy.