IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 43

Renewable Energy
for Rural Electrification
China's main experience with renewable energy is through the construction
of small hydro plants before the 1970s.
Then, grid extension became mainstream for rural electrification. In the
Sixth Five-Year Plan (1981-1985) and
Seventh Five-Year Plan (1986-1990), the
Chinese government began to encourage renewable energy for electricity

Figure 5. A power tower under construction in a plateau. (Source: ZouYifei, Indaa.com.cn.)

100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

(%)

From the 1980s, renewable energy,
especially PV home systems, have
been used for rural electrification. In
2005, with the birth of the Renewable
Energy Law, China has been a world
leader in installing renewable energy
both in the megawatt and small
scale. In 2013, China ranked first in
total wind power installed capacity,
PV capacity, and hydropower capacity
(2014 Global Renewable Status
Report). What was noticeable in 2013
is that China's new renewable power
capacity surpassed new fossil and
nuclear capacity for the first time. All
renewables accounted for more than
20% (>1,000 TWh) of China's electricity generation (2014 Global Renewable
Status Report).
Renewable energy on a large scale
is helping to reshape the energy pattern in China. In the energy use structure in China, shown in Figure 6, more
than 70% is coal-fired thermal plants,
16.5% is hydropower, and renewable
energy (minus hydro) is just 0.8% of
the total capacity. Coal burning contributes greatly to carbon dioxide
emissions and is among the main
causes for acid rain and air pollution.
Renewable energy is key to realizing
The State Council's target to cut carbon intensity-carbon emissions per
unit of the gross domestic product-
by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2020.
China has been active in using
renewable energy for rural electrification, holding some of the largest rural
programs on small hydro, biomass,
wind, PV, and biogas. Microgrids also
represent a booming industry for
remote rural communities in western
China and for the large number of
islands on the east coastline.

World
Coal

Oil

United States
Natural Gas

Japan

Germany

Nuclear

Hydro

France

China

Renewable (Minus Hydro)

Figure 6. A comparison of the generating structure between different nations. (Source: Liu, 2013.)
IEEE Electrific ation Magazine / March 2 0 1 5

43


http://Indaa.com.cn

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015

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IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - Cover3
IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - Cover4
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