Insight
Wind power market has huge potential
Last Updated: 2016-12-19 17:04 | CE.cn
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By Wang Yichen

Recently, data released by the National Energy Administration show that in the first 9 months, the average utilization hours of wind power in China is 1251 hours, down 66 hours year-on-year and the decline range narrowed 19 hours compared with the first half year; the abandoned wind power is 39.47 billion kWh with the average wind abandoning rate being 19 percent. Experts said, although the average wind abandoning rate has declined compared with that of 21 percent in the first half year, the situation of wind abandoning in the third quarter is still not optimistic. Under the background that the installed capacity of wind power in the "13th Five-Year Plan" period will maintain sharp growth, it has become a priority among priorities to promote the application of wind power to a high proportion.

In the past year, wind power industry development both in China and all over the world has achieved fruitful results, and by the end of 2015, the cumulative installed capacity of wind power in the world has reached 432 million kW with more than 100 countries and regions being covered. Among which, China's wind power installed capacity reached 129 million kW in last year and has exceeded 140 million kW by now. While the problem it faced is also increasingly prominent.

Data from NEA show that in the third quarter this year, the new increment of wind power grid-connected capacity is 10 million kW, and by the end of September, the cumulative grid-connected capacity is 139 million kW, a year-on-year growth of 28 percent; the quantity of wind power on-grid electricity in China is 169.3 billion kWh, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent.

The rapid rise of grid-connected capacity of wind power has brought a challenge for wind power consumption. In Jilin, Xinjiang and Gansu, the equipment utilization hours are less than 1000, in which, that of Gansu are only 870 hours. Compared with the same period last year, the wind power equipment utilization hours in Xinjiang, Ningxia and Gansu were reduced by 388 hours, 358 hours and 105 hours year-on-year respectively. The wind abandoning situation of some provinces in Northeast China, North China and Northwest China is still more serious.

The mismatching between power grid, peak-load regulation power construction administration and the power construction is considered as the two main reasons hindering wind power consumption. Wang Zhongying, director of China National Renewable Energy Center, said that according to the current situation, the grid in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region may has a power scheduling gap of more than 600 kW, if the 13 loops in 4 Channels of Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei are utilized effectively, there will be another 15 million kW of wind power can accepted.

Wang Xiaohai, general manager assistant of Inner Mongolia Electric Power (Group) Co., Ltd., believes that the proportion of wind abandoning due to the constraints of power grid accounts about 20 percent to 30 percent of the total wind abandoning, so there is still a lot of space to be utilized. "The construction of grid should be invested continuously, the flexibility of power grid operation should be improved, and the capacity of long-distance and large capacity transmission of wind power should be strengthened while the safety and stability of power grid are enhanced," said Wang Xiaohai.

In addition, through analysis and estimates, only in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Inner Mongolia regions, a total of 220 million kilowatts of wind power installed capacity can be accepted by 2020 if the coal power units in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei can be flexible scheduled and by use of the existing grid infrastructure and some additional necessary distribution network.

"By then, the annual operating hours of thermal power of more than 100 million kW in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be reduced to 3385 hours. And by 2030, if the peak shaving technology of coal power can be innovated and get breakthrough, the utilization hours of coal power units will be further reduced to 2331 hours even if the existing power grid is not changed." Wang Zhongying told the Economic Daily reporter frankly that if the current on-grid power price maintains unchanged, then with the coal power utilization hours significantly reduced, the coal plant will certainly face a loss. Therefore, the wind abandoning is related to not only a simple technical problem, but also the institutional mechanism problem or the interest distribution problem.

Viewing from the current situation, there is still available space in the peak shaving capacity of traditional thermal power. "Due to the coal price and other reasons, whether it is in the heating period or non-heating period, the exact peak shaving capacity of all the thermal power units has not met the requirements of the contract." Wang Xiaohai suggested that the next step, it can be promoted for the heating power plants to add the link of thermal storage, namely the thermal energy is stored in the heating power plants directly, once the heat can be stored in the power plant directly and the thermoelectric decoupling (a thermal storage technology) can be achieved, then you can release much capacity for accepting wind power in winter.

In addition, experts also suggested that the clean energy heating can be promoted on the grid side, but as the clean energy heating projects are now basically in a state of loss, it needs to be supported by more favorable national policies.

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