By Li Jing
According to Data Released at the 2016 Energy Internet Leaders' Forum organized recently by China Energy News, China has become the largest investor in renewable energy sources at present. To calculate by the investment increase rate of 20 percent, the value added of renewable energy sources and related industrial chains by 2020 will surpass USD 600 billion and the market scale of energy supply and new energy efficiency investment will reach USD 300 billion, indicating tremendous potential of the energy industry in the future.
Then, what is energy Internet rising in the energy field in recent years and what is its role in the energy industry in the future? Chen Zheng, Head of Energy Development Research Institute, Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute, said that energy Internet is to apply the Internet technologies and the development of renewable energy sources into the exploration and distribution links of energy, transform the intensive energy consumption into dispersed one and integrate networks of electricity, oil and gas, transport and information in an attempt to contribute to an energy-sharing network. Meanwhile, energy Internet has risen to be an important strategic support to boost China's energy revolution and is of great importance to improve the proportion of renewable energy sources, promote clean and efficient employment of fossil energy, raise comprehensive energy efficiency as well as promote the opening of the energy market and produce new economic growth points by industry upgrading. Though arising in recent years, energy Internet has been sought-after by enterprises and seen the emergence of distributed generation, intelligent microgrid, active power distribution grid, smart power grid, Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, new-energy automobiles, charging pile, time-sharing rental, new technologies, new products and new business modes.
According to Tong Guangyi, director of Safety Department of National Energy Administration, at present, practical efforts should be made in smart power grids, given China's theories and thinking concerning smart power grids have been rather mature, National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration have released relevant guidance documents and policies, making the means, ideology and target of smart power grids rather distinct. Hence, efforts should be made in profound integration of Internet and smart power grids on the basis of the existing smart power grids to fulfill energy Internet.
"The core of the new generation of energy system lies in power grid, for the power grid is developed to transmit electric energy and to link many power generation enterprises and energy supply enterprises", said Tang Yuan, director of industrial and trade research institute under the administration of Research Office of the State Council. The secondary communication system of smart power grids and the Internet form an ecosystem of energy Internet, based on which a new energy market trading system and business operation platform can be established. "By such a way, the interconnectivity and complementation of primary and secondary resources, such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, electricity and thermal energy, can be maximized so as to develop energy storage, application of electromobiles, smart energy employment, value-added services, flexible trading of green energy, synchronized employment of energy's big data and other new modes and business forms and fulfill optimized deployment and efficient utilization of energy flow", said Tang Yuan.
In addition, to promote the construction of energy Internet, the government-guiding, enterprise-dominated and market-oriented principle must be followed. However, it is not advisable for the government to play all the roles. Instead, the government should make intensive efforts to play a guiding role, issue more policies, focus less on specific projects, and focus on creating a sound development ecosystem and make the market mechanism play a role. Tang Yuan said that the government should serve as a servant and provide sound industry services, while the leading role of enterprises, large state-owned enterprises in particular, should be given to play in specific enterprises. "The energy industry has many large enterprises. Efforts should be made to fully motivate the activity of such central government-owned enterprises as State Grid, China Southern Power Grid, Sinopec, CNPC and SPIC, avoid monopoly and encourage and support numerous private enterprises to involve in the construction of energy Internet so as to develop a pattern of orderly competition among various enterprises", Tang Yuan said.
In the near future, Chen Zheng believed that energy Internet will generate vigor and vitality in many fields. In terms of distributed power generation, combination with distribution grid and microgrid will be achieved, contributing to service outsourcing, finance lease and more new application modes. With respect to smart devices, the rather cutting-edge application of integrating gas meter, electric meter and water meter into one in smart home and buildings. Meanwhile, the core role of energy Internet will be given to play in terms of distributed energy storage, and serve as a reservoir in micro power system. In terms of innovation in business mode, with the launching of gas reform and electricity reform, energy trading and Internet finance, asset management and carbon finance will generate sound cooperation effect. "Several measures are expected to be launched next year, including green electricity certificate and carbon emission trading, which will be fully opened in 2017." With the progress of the concepts of carbon and green, energy Internet will see great change in the trading field", said Chen Zheng.
In addition, award for the most influential leading enterprise in energy Internet, special contribution award for energy Internet, science and technology innovation in energy Internet and other two awards were granted to 16 enterprises, including GCL, Sungrow Power, TBEA and BAIC BJEV at the forum. Zhu Gongshan, president of GCL Group, was praised as the Man of 2016 in China's Energy Field.