The first in a series of technical primers about renewable energy integration in China by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) provides the first easily-accessible, in-depth analysis of the institutions and laws at the heart of reforming an industry that accounts for one-quarter of the world’s annual coal consumption. Integrating Renewables into Power Systems in China: A Technical Primer – Power System Operations is a detailed analysis of the institutions and practices governing China’s power sector, and how they shape the constraints faced by industry and regulators in expanding and integrating renewable energy into the country’s power system. The paper recommends policies to increase flexibility in power system operations with the goal of accommodating greater amounts of variable renewable energy.
“China’s power sector was designed around rigid, long-term planning for heavy industrial demand and baseload coal generation,” stated Fritz Kahrl, coauthor of the primer. “The institutions and laws will need to change to accommodate the increasingly diverse needs of a dynamic economy and the government’s vision of a low-carbon electricity supply powered by significant amounts of variable wind and solar generation.”
The authors recommend moving towards economic dispatch of generation units, updating ancillary services definitions and rules to align more closely with power system needs, and more fully integrating demand-side resources into operations.
“These improvements are critical to cost-effectively meeting China’s energy and environmental policies,” added Frederick Weston, RAP principal and China programs director. “Taken together, they will not only reduce costs, but also reduce emissions, and improve the reliability of the power system.”
Integrating Renewables into Power Systems in China: A Technical Primer – Power System Operations outlines the current organizations and institutions governing power system operations in China, ancillary services practices, load management processes, regional power trading schemes, and the challenges that these institutions and practices create for the integration of variable renewable energy sources. Subsequent technical primers will address electricity sector planning and electricity wholesale and retail pricing.