China State Grid Builds More Networks to Handle Wind Capacity

China State Grid Corp., the nation’s largest power distributor, is boosting efforts to build more electricity networks to enhance the grid’s ability to handle power from new sources such as wind.

Preliminary work is accelerating on an ultra-high voltage link to deliver wind power from Jiuquan in the northwestern province of Gansu to southern Hunan, said Zhang Zhengling, deputy director of the development and planning department at China State Grid. Two grid lines are also being built to transmit power from northern Hebei to areas including Beijing and Tianjin city, he said in an interview yesterday.

Grid improvements in China are necessary to deal with an influx of new energy sources. In particular, enhancements would help reduce idled wind capacity, particularly in the north.

The state-owned grid operator is creating capacity in areas where the issue of idled wind power is most severe, Zhang said at a conference yesterday.

The annual rate of China’s idled wind capacity may fall to 12 percent this year from 17 percent in 2012, Guo Yanheng, the deputy director of the National Renewable Energy Engineering Information Management Center, said in August.

Turning wind farms off cost operators at least 10.6 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) in lost revenue last year, almost doubled 2011’s figure, according to the renewable energy center.

China plans to take two to three years to resolve the issue, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the renewable energy department under the National Energy Administration, said.

Wind Farms

China has optimized the planning of wind farms, with new approvals centered in Shandong and Shanxi provinces and stricter controls in the north, Zhang said.

The electricity lost because of wind curtailment, the term used to describe wind farms producing at less than their generation capacity, may fall at least 25 percent to below 15 billion kilowatt-hours this year from a year ago, he estimates.

By the end of the year, the grid company will start operating another line from Hami in Xinjiang to Henan, which can handle 8 gigawatts of wind power and 1.25 gigawatts of solar, Zhang said at the conference.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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