IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 46

Rural electrification
is indispensable to
rural economic
development, and by
recognizing this link,
China appears to
succeed in both
electricity
development and
rural development.

and operation face barriers from the
current power market mechanism. The
first issue is how decentralized generation can compete with the main grid.
Under competition with the central grid,
the ability of distributed generation to
obtain favorable grid-connection rates
varies with negotiation with government, power demand in the province,
and the history of facilities (outdated
systems may have a lower connection
rate). Another issue is how the
large-scale government-led electrification program can sustain itself after government funding leaves. For example, in
the Township Electrification Program,
the lack of clear ownership and cost
recovery mechanisms, (i.e., no mechanism was there to transfer the systems
to local ownership after the initial contract terms expired)
jeopardizes the sustainability of this program. The fund
source, of which a large portion is from governments, also

means that other countries can hardly
replicate such efforts.
For the tasks at hand, although most
of the rural population in China has
access to electricity, there is an
insufficient supply, unreliable electricity
service, and low per capita electricity
consumption compared to urban areas.
And there is still much room for
improvement; the remaining population without electricity is either living in
extremely remote areas or leading a
nomadic lifestyle. The provision of electricity to these populations, though in
small numbers, poses huge challenges.

conclusions

Rural electrification in China has gone
through a long history, experiencing
ministry changes and policy modifications. From locally
developed and locally managed using local sources, this system has gradually evolved to a dynamic combination of grid

Table 3. The Policies, Programs, and Development Stages of
the rural electrification Initiative based on renewable energy.

46

Year

Name

Focus

Comment

1999-mid2007

The renewable energy
development program
with support from the
World Bank

Solar and
wind energy

400,000 solar home systems were distributed in western
China during 2006-2011. About two million people, mostly
nomads and farmers in isolated areas, now get electricity for
their home appliances.

2005-2010

CRESP, also with
support from GEF and
the World Bank

Wind,
biomass,
small hydro

Demonstrates the feasibility of scale-up renewable technologies and economic and environmental advantage over coal-fired
generation. It supports institutional development and capacity
building for renewable energy in China. It initiated one of the first
large-scale, on-grid wind power projects and introduced market
frameworks for commercialization of the PV sector.

2005

The renewable energy law was released by the efforts from CRESP.

1980s-2000s

Household wind
power in the Inner
Mongolian autonomous
regions

Wind power

The local branch of the Ministry of Science and Technology
began to develop 50-100-W household-scale wind turbines
for herders. By 2004, 140,000 units were sold and up to 80%
(out of 440,000) households use a household wind generator.

1996-2001

Household wind/
PV hybrid systems in
the Inner Mongolian
autonomous region

Wind/PV

Initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Chinese
Academy of Science, and the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, 8,400 such
systems were installed, with system sizes between 400
and 500 W. The higher costs of these systems limited their
affordability, even among richer herders in the Mongolian
autonomous region.

2011-2015

12th five-year plan for
China's development by
central government

2009-2011

Golden Sun
Program

I E E E E l e c t r i f i c ati o n M agaz ine / March 2015

It calls for an increase in the proportion of nonfossil fuels in
total primary energy consumption to 11.4%.
Solar power

It consists of a subsidy program to support the installation
of PV. It covers both on-grid and off-grid PV and the subsidy for
the later focus on rural areas.



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