Big grid operators pledge to step up green efforts

Updated: Jun 8, 2021 By ZHENG XIN China Daily Print
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Two State Grid technicians check power transmission facilities in Chuzhou, Anhui province. [Photo by Song Weixing/For China Daily]

China's major power grid operators have pledged to continue investing in grid construction to increase the share of electricity generated from nonfossil fuels in accordance with the government's ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

State Grid Corp of China, the world's largest electricity company by power generation capacity, vowed to continue investing in grid construction this year with 473 billion yuan ($73.5 billion) in investment, up 2.71 percent year-on-year.

The company will also further enhance trans-provincial clean energy power transmission, advance consumption of clean energy and promote electric power by innovating environmental protective power grid technology, it said.

China Southern Power Grid, one of the country's two major power grids, also plans to further step up digital power grid construction to make sure its percentage of nonfossil energy power generation accounts for 61 percent by 2030.

Power generation using renewable energy requires more of the grid as the grid network needs to be steadier and quicker in response. It is necessary to build a new power system with the new energy as a principal component to help the government achieve its carbon peak and carbon neutrality ambitions, said Wu Baoying, chairman of the Energy Development Research Institute under China Southern Power Grid.

According to State Grid Corp of China, the digital power transmission network is the core of a new power system. The company has kicked off the planning and construction of a digital power network since the 13th Five-Year Plan to make sure the power system operates safely and stably and optimizes the allocation of resources on a large scale.

This has also enabled more clean energy consumption in China's Guangdong province, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Yunnan province, Guizhou province and Hainan province, all covered by the company, it said.

Joseph Jacobelli, an independent energy analyst and a senior adviser on Asia at Cenfura, a smart energy services company, said he believes the company can achieve even higher than the 61 percent target for 2030.

"Policy-wise the nation will strive to beat its 2060 net zero target, and clean energy capacity will be built at a faster pace than current expectations," he said.

"Ways will be found to cut thermal coal plants' contribution to the power generation mix by reducing some of the output and decommissioning some plants ahead of their economic life's end. This also means that capital spending by State Grid Corp of China may substantially rise so as to meet the higher rate of clean energy sources."

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