Author Archives: kaare@sandholts.dk

Will China reach it’s 2014 targets on Solar PV?

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3,3 GW new installed capacity in the first half year of 2014 is indeed impressive for the Chinese solar PV development, but it is quite far from the 14 GW the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced as target for 2014 in the beginning of the year.

New installed PV capacity in China 2006-2013

New installed PV capacity in China 2006-2013

The installed capacity in the first half of 2014 might not be alarmingly low. In 2013, where the total new installed capacity reached 13 GW, the main installations happened in the second half of the year. The newly released figures for 2014 might however have given NEA reason to reassess the 2014 targets. Several sources cite the head of NEA, Wu Xinxiong, for new 2014 targets: PV-Tech.org says the new target is 13 GW, mainly from distributed PV, while the July Briefing paper from AECEA cite Wu Xinxiong for a target as low as 10 GW. AECEAs own estimation is however more in line with the 13 GW that PV-Tech.org quote.

New PV capacity in first half of 2014 (MW)

New distributed PV capacity in first half of 2014 (MW)

New utility based capacity in first half of 2014 (MW)

New utility based capacity in first half of 2014 (MW)

The main difference between 2013 and 2014 is that NEA now has high priority to distributed PV installations. In 2013 only 1 GW of the total 13 GW new installed capacity was distributed PV capacity, while 12 GW was utility based solar power plants. The targets for 2014 from the beginning of the year were 8 GW distributed PV capacity and 6 GW utility based capacity. The figures for first half of 2014 shows 1 GW distributed capacity and 2.3 GW utility based capacity.

The regional distribution of the new installed capacity for first half of 2014 is clear: The solar power plants are installed in the North and North West China, with Xinjiang in the top with 900 MW, while the distributed capacity is installed in East and South China.

 

China RE Policy research – full speed forward

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China RE Policy research – full speed forward

The impressive list of 2013 activities in China National Renewable Energy Centre illustrates the centre’s importance for setting the scene for Chinas future energy system.

CNRECs 2013 annual report is an impressive story about a large number of projects carried out by the team behind the centre. All projects very topically, focusing on policy research and aiming at giving the Chinese policy makers the best available basis for decisions.CNREC_2013

CNREC was launched in early 2012 and the centre has since shown it’s value for the deployment of renewable energy in China. The centre’s activities comprise policy research, RE industry development, management of large demonstration programs, development of monitoring systems and databases for information about RE development in China and abroad, and last but not least boosting cooperation between China and the international RE community.

Have a look – download the easy-read report here.

 

China wind power development back on track, but…..

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The latest market report from GWEC is encouraging reading for the Chinese wind industry, but the main challenges for the future development are still not solved.

The new Global Wind Statistics 2013 from Global Wind Energy Council shows a global recession in the wind power development with the Chinese market as a remarkable exception. After two years with lower new installed capacity than the previous year, 2013 gave 16 GW new capacity in China, now reaching a total installed capacity of 91.4 GW wind power.

Annual installed wind power capacity in China in MW.

Annual installed wind power capacity in China in MW. Source: GWEC.

The un-official NEA target for 2013 was 18 GW and this is probably the level of new capacity NEA would like to see for the years to come for on-shore turbines. The peak in installed capacity was in 2010 with almost 19 GW, while 2011 and 2012 showed a decrease (17.5 GW and 12.9 GW).

For the Chinese wind industry this is good news. The Chinese wind manufacturers are totally depended on the Chinese market – only the biggest companies have succeeded in global activities on a small scale – and the last couple of years have been a nightmare for a number of companies with Sinovel as the most known. And a level of around 18 GW annually would give new wind to at least the biggest and most competitive companies.

But the crisis in the Chinese wind industry is probably not finished yet for several reasons.

Firstly, the main barriers for integration of wind power into the Chinese energy system have not be removed. In average more than 20% of the potential wind power production is curtailed on a yearly basis, and some wind farms experience more than 40% of the yearly production is curtailed. Needless to say that this is jeopardizing the economy of the wind farm projects if this continue. The integration issue is first and foremost a question about the right incentives for the thermal power plants to be more flexible – the cure is quite clear, but such institutional changes require a strong hand from the whole government and coordinated effort from a number of different ministries.

Secondly the Chinese government aims to gradually reduce the size of the Feed-In-Tariff, which again puts strong requirements on the future development of the wind turbines to lower the total cost of energy – both the investment cost but not least improving the reliability and reducing the operational costs.

Thirdly the requirements from the grid to the wind turbines are increasingly strong. This is necessary in order to technically integrate a larger share of wind power and also in line with the global development, where wind turbines more and more is considered as “normal” power plants with requirements or delivering different types of services to the power system. This put even more pressure on the Chinese wind manufacturers to be innovative and deliver with high quality. On the other hand – if the Chinese manufacturers can deliver to the future Chinese market they will also be able to compete on the global market to the benefit of the global development and deployment of wind power.

So let us enjoy the revival of the Chinese wind power market in 2013, but let us hope the Chinese wind turbine manufacturers and the Chinese government will be able to act quickly on the current challenges. Failure to act will be a serious threat to the future for the Chinese wind power industry and for the global wind power development as such.