IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2015 - 45

support decision making of authorities. If measures on the
demand side, such as increasing electric heat boilers, heat
pumps, and heat storage in the system are also taken, wind
power integration will be further enhanced.
Second, strengthening interregional power grid interconnection to enlarge the grid scale of RE power bases is
an important and effective approach to help integrate wind
and solar power in a larger area. The load level is relatively
low in areas with concentrated wind and PV power projects
and potentials and is currently not well connected with the
national load centers.
By the end of 2014, the installed capacity of wind power
and PV power in the Three North area accounted for 82 and
79%, respectively, of its total capacity installed nationwide.
The electricity consumption in these areas, however, was
only 33% of the national level. Compared with the grid of
east and central China, which is a power sink where the load
centers are, the power grids in the Three North area, where
renewable generation is connected, are relatively weak due
to low electric demand and load density. The renewable
energy development in the Three North area is far beyond
the local capability to integrate renewables. According to
the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and 13th Five-Year
Plan (2015-2020) of Renewable Energy, it is expected that
the installed wind capacity in China will reach 200-250 GW
by 2020, 70% of which will still be in the Three North
area. Of the nine 10 GW+ level wind power bases planned
by the Chinese government, seven are located in the Three
North area. The planned wind power bases such as Jiuquan
Gansu and Hami Xinjiang are located more than 2,000 km
away from the load centers in central and east China. Analysis results show that to control the wind curtailment rate
of the Three North area to less than 5%, 80-100 GW of
wind will need to be transported to other regions for grid
integration, which accounts for 55% of the wind capacity
in this area.
In the power sink areas, such as central and east China,
where there is a high demand for electricity, wind and solar
resources are poor and the scale of wind and solar power
installation is very limited. By the end of 2014, the installed
capacity of wind and solar power in these areas will only
account for 9 and 17% of their national total capacity. However, the electricity consumption in these areas accounts for
42% of the national total. It is anticipated that wind capacity in central and east China will only account for 15% of
the national total by 2020. Due to high electric demand, low
share of CHP units and good conditions for construction of
flexible generation such as pumped hydro, it is concluded
from research results that around 150 GW of wind can be
integrated in central and east China by 2020, 110-120 GW
of which can be from the Three North areas.
We can see that, when considering wind development and
integration in different regions, the Three North area is rich
in wind resources but system flexibility is limited, while central and east China do not have good wind resources but have
november/december 2015

more system flexibility that is used to facilitate the integration of VG from the Three North area. Given that the wind
and power system flexibility are not uniformly distributed
in China, the power grid between the Three North area and
central and east China needs to be strengthened. Then wind
in the Three North area can be integrated in a larger area
where the flexible resources in central and east China can be
utilized to facilitate renewable integration.
For a long time, power grid planning and construction in
China was mainly based on the local electric demand growth.
The interregional power grid interconnection is weak. By the
end of 2014, the total capability of interregional transmission
lines within the SGCC's operation area was 110 GW, only 16%
of the maximum load in this area. The existing inter-regional
transmission lines are mainly for energy from large hydro and
coal plants and play a limited role in wind integration. Therefore, based on the future VG location, power grid structure,
and electric load growth trend, strengthening the interconnection of interregional power grids is of great importance.
Third, given the status of continuous growth of power
demand in the coming decades in China, coordinated planning among VG, conventional generation, and grid development is an important foundation for efforts to reduce the
wind and solar generation curtailment.
There is a saying in China's power sector that the biggest savings come from good planning, and the biggest
waste comes from bad planning. This mind-set is of particular importance for the development of wind and solar
in the Three North area, which is far from the load centers
and where energy transmission to other regions is a must for
renewable integration.
It is anticipated that the national electricity consumption
in China will increase to 8,000 TWh by 2020, and an additional 1,100-1,200 TWh by 2030, from its 2014 level, which
was 5,500 TWh. Therefore, the renewable energy development and grid integration efforts in China need to solve
not only the problem of renewable energy replacement for
existing generation but should also optimize the incremental
additions. Project planning and construction must be coordinated between wind and solar generation, pumped hydro,
and power grids for transmission of electricity.
From the current coordination of wind and power grid
planning and construction point of view, it takes around
1.5 years at most for a wind project from its planning to

Approval
Period
VG
Power
Grid

1 Year
2 Years

Construction
Period
3-6
Months
1-2 Years

figure 4. Approval and construction periods for renewable
generation and the power grid.
ieee power & energy magazine

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2015

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