Severe Situation of Wind Power Waste has been the Unbearable Burden for Wind Power Enterprises in China 12-24-2015

The health of the citizens is badly threatened by the strikes of the severe toxic haze, while the clean energy, especially the wind electric power, has been wasted in China thus cost heavy economic and environmental prices. Although the China policy continuously favored the clean energy, there are irreconcilable practical problems during the implementation process. The situation of the wind power waste has been more severe this than the former years in northeastern China, especially in Heilongjiang.




The Loss of the Enterprises with the Curtailment is Inevitable


According to the statistics from the National Energy Administration, the on-grid energy of wind power reached 97.7 billion kilowatts, with a year-on-year growth of 20.7%; the waste of the wind power, called curtailment, was 17.5 billion kilowatts, with a year-on-year growth of 10.1 billion kilowatts; the average rate of the curtailment was 15.2%, increase by 6.8% on year-on-year ground.


The situation of the waste of the wind power, which is instable, has been harassed the wind power industry for years. In 2012, the wind power curtailment was 20.8 billion kilowatts, with the rate of curtailment of 17%. In 2013, the rate decreased to 11%, and then further dropped to 8.5% in H1 2014, while in this year, the rate surged to 15.2% out of the complicated economic situation, which has been the “unbearable burden” in the areas suffer severe curtailment, like Gansu and Heilongjiang.


For the Heilongjiang province, the curtailment is more obvious because of the needs of heat supply in winter. Until the end of the October in 2015, the total wind power curtailment was 1.5 billion kilowatts, 50% higher than that was in 2014, with the curtailment proportion of 20%. In October alone, the amount of the curtailment in Heilongjiang was nearly 500 million kilowatts, with the curtailment proportion of almost 40%, according the enterprise statistics found by a journalist of China Economic net.


With the weather gets colder and colder, the curtailment situation certainly would deteriorate. Even worse is the situation that the full curtailment to the wind power in the period of low-load around the province.


Until 9th December, the total generating capacity of Heilongjiang Datang New Energy CO., Ltd was 573,169.5 thousand kilowatts, among which including the accumulative amount of curtailment of 154,254.3 thousand kilowatts, with the curtailment proportion of 26.9%, according to the statistics provided by the Heilongjiang Datang New Energy CO., Ltd.


"The company is on the verge of loss in 2014. From the early 2015 until now, the loss is inevitable. As the economic downturn has not been bottomed yet, the company would face the huge pressure of mounting losses in the years to come. The survival and development of the company has been seriously challenged in an unprecedented level. ”according to the responsible person in charge of Datang.


A Long-term Excess of Electricity Supply


Heilongjiang is one of the provinces that enjoy the richest and prior wind energy all around the country. Stimulated by the policies of the State wind power industry, the wind power installation has surged, so has the coal-fired power plants for the heat supply.


In the end of 2007, the total installed capacity in Heilongjiang reached 15,738.8 thousand kilowatts, including coal-fired power capacity of 14,547.5 thousand kilowatts, hydroelectricity capacity of 893.1 thousand kilowatts and wind power of 298.2 thousand kilowatts. In November 2015, the total installed capacity in Heilongjiang reached 26,362.1 thousand kilowatts, including coal-fired power capacity of 19,758.1 thousand kilowatts, hydroelectricity capacity of 1,011.1 thousand kilowatts and wind power of 4,980 thousand kilowatts.


That is to say that the installed capacity of the wind power has increased by 4,680 thousand kilowatts and the installed capacity of the coal-fired power has increased by 5210 thousand kilowatts in the past 8 years, among which the installed capacity of the heat supply coal-fired power units has increased about by 4,000 thousand kilowatts. Currently, the installed capacity of the coal-fired power in Heilongjiang is taking up 75% of its total capacity, among which the heat supply units is counting for 69%.


It is not difficult to conclude that the electricity supply in Heilongjiang has been in the situation of long-term excess. However, only the generating units of the hydroelectricity, which only have 700 thousand kilowatts capacity, can dispatch quick peak regulation capacity, thus the power supply volatility caused by the large scale wind power on-grid is hard to solve.


Significant Characteristics of Winter Heat Supply


As the economic downturn in Heilongjiang, the social electricity consumption in the area gains a slow growth rate, which caused a drop instead of rise in terms of the total generating hours of the power plants, according to many power electricty enterprises.


Besides, as the period from October to the next April, during which the wind sources is rich and plentiful, carries the necessary needs of heat supply, the heat supply power plants have to keep its running capacity to maintain citizens’ livelihood, therefore the electric generating capacity left for the wind power plants is extremely limited thus caused huge waste of wind power. And that’s the reason major cause for the waste of the wind power in Heilongjiang and the “Three North” areas.


Although from the policy the clean energy enjoys the prior access to the grid and the full amount purchase deal of its output, the development of the clean energy in Heilongjiang province faces the more practical problems, according to the responsible official of the State Grid Heilongjiang Electric Company Limited.


"There are combined reasons for the problems of the policy making and the operations in terms of the wind power consumption in Heilongjiang province: the first one is the small demands of the power load; the second is the high demands of the heat supply. And this year we are in a more serious situation than last year with larger cardinal number in both coal-fired power plants and the wind power plants and smaller transprovincial channels of power transmission. To solve the problems, we have to dispatch the generating distribution among the power plants.”


"We are struggling in our dispatching position as the both parties are equally important, and that’s how the things happened. The additional running capacity of the coal-fired power plants mainly comes from the heat supply units. And take the grid safety, grid structure and the instability of the wind energy into considerations, the wind power generators could not possible run in 100% capacity.” said Bai Zheng of the State Grid Dispatching Center.


The Key Focus in the 13th Five Year Plan


"The coals we are using now are the resources belong to our descendants. As we are in a situation where the electricity demand is weak and the wind electricity has not been fully play its role, what we need to think about now is how to make use of the energy and how to enlarge the terminal electricity application market.”said Bai Zheng.


Some enterprises advised the heat supply by electricity in some areas. “The households of the heat supply in the major cities in Heilongjiang could more than 2 million, which could consume electricity of 20 million kilowatt-hours. With the fully or partly implementation of the plan, the electricity supply load would double in Heilongjiang grid, by which not only the problems of the wind electricity could fully solved, but would also increase the generating hours of the coal-fired power plants and other power plants.” said director of a enterprise.


However, it would be extremely complicate and difficult to change the way of heat supply from thermal-water-powered to the electricity-powered, since the heating installation into the house and the current heat supply structure should redesigned accordingly.


"Even when the change of way of the heat supply work through, under the existing technology conditions the proportion of the wind electricity against the total generating capacity should not exceed 25%,” said Bai Zheng. “a higher proportion need a more advanced technology development.”


Some enterprises also appeal to the government to step up the electricity system reform, so as to keep the prior position of the clean energy in terms of the generating or the access to the grid by defining the consuming proportion of the renewable energy sources in provinces. Meanwhile, it also should combine the electricity base construction in the northeastern areas with the reasonable plans to speed up the constructions of the transprovincial channels of power transmission and to avoid the electricity growth limit caused by the bottleneck constraints of transmission.


Fortunately, the issue of wind energy waste has been listed in the problems-to-solve schedule of the 13th Five Year Plan. The key point of the wind power project in the 13th Five Year Plan is not to promote the generating capacity or the on-grid, but to keep the stability of the policy and to focus on the large scale of the waste of the wind power, according to Li Peng, the deputy director general of New Energy and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Administration.


*This is a translated and re-edited version by CCM. The orginal article comes from (China Economy).


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