Solution to growth of new-energy firms blowing in the wind

Updated: 2013-09-18 10:40

By Jiang Xueqing (China Daily)

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The central government has permitted preparatory work for construction of several 500,000 kw conversion stations in cities such as Baicheng and Songyuan, but the project is still awaiting official approval.

"We earnestly hope that the central government will help us build an extra-high-voltage transmission line to carry power from Jilin to North and East China," said Zheng.

Compared with the power grid, wind power projects have a much faster examination and approval procedure and a shorter construction period. That means the development of the power grid has been unable to keep pace with the growth of wind farms.

To ensure that construction and operation are in step, wind farm developers have increased preliminary communications with power grid companies regarding their plans for wind energy projects.

Solution to growth of new-energy firms blowing in the wind

"In the past, China's power grid was designed to serve conventional energy resources such as coal, but in the future, it should be changed to serve new energy," said Zheng. "High-level national officials must be farsighted when developing new energy and make systematic adjustments to the relevant technologies, policies, pricing systems and the power grid."

In addition to transmitting wind-generated power to other regions, Jilin is also trying to increase its own electricity consumption by using curtailed wind power for heating. Datang Xiangyang Wind Power Generation Co is currently testing a heating station in Taonan in northwestern Jilin.

The station replaced one coal-fired boiler, which had a generating capacity of 20 metric tons of steam an hour, with nine electric thermal storage heaters, which consumed 27 million kilowatt-hours of curtailed wind power during a five-month heating season, a move that saved 8,000 tons of coal and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 35,000 tons.

Price anomaly

Despite significant environmental benefits, the station lost 10 to 20 million yuan every year because the residential heating price in Taonan remained at around 27 yuan per sq m, while the cost of generating heat using electricity was much higher, said Zhang Xuezheng, Party secretary of Datang Xiangyang Wind Power Generation Co.

Moreover, the company had to generate heat with electricity purchased from the State Grid Corp at an average price of more than 0.5 yuan per kWh, almost the same as the post-tax price of the company's on-grid wind power.

"The government compensated our company by allowing us to produce more electricity, so the profits from the generation of wind power just about covered the losses we incurred from supplying heat," said Zhang.

He said that only when the government breaks the constraints on the prices of electricity and heating, will renewable energy companies be willing to fully develop public interest projects, such as the use of curtailed wind power to replace coal-fired heating.

Solution to growth of new-energy firms blowing in the wind