China's renewable energy wastage targets may be hard to meet this winter: NEA

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s target to “effectively alleviate” renewable power waste remains under pressure despite Beijing’s progress in boosting renewable energy consumption in the first three quarters of the year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: An employee walks between rows of solar panels at a solar power plant on the outskirts of Dunhuang, Gansu province, China, June 10, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

“Winter is typically the toughest season for power generated from wind farms and solar plants to connect to the grids. Some regions will face pressure to prevent a rebound of wind and solar waste rates,” said the NEA in the statement.

Power waste is caused when there is not enough transmission capacity to absorb the electricity generated by wind, solar and hydro-power plants, leading to high curtailment rates, particularly in northwestern and southwestern China.

While the hydro-power utilization rates in the southwestern provinces of Sichuan, Guangxi and Yunan have climbed 2 percentage points during the first three quarters of 2017, the transmission grid may not be able to absorb more of the hydro-power that will be available as the region comes to the end of the flood season, the NEA said.

Still, the wind curtailment rate across the country dropped 6.7 percentage points between January and September compared to the same period a year ago, while the solar waste rate decreased 4 percentage point, the NEA said.

The risks of high power curtailment remain high in Gansu and Xinjiang province where more than 20 percent of solar power and around 30 percent of wind power was wasted in the first nine months.

Solar power waste rates rose in the smog-prone region of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Shaanxi province, the NEA said without giving a reason for the increase.

“Local authorities and grid companies should pay high-attention to curb power waste in the renewable energy sectors,” said the NEA.

The NEA will continue to promote renewable energy consumption by encouraging power generators to trade with heating companies.

China has planned to eliminate 44,000 coal-fired industrial boilers and switch households to natural gas or electric heating.

The NEA will also further boost cross-region power transmission and power trade by improving transmission capacity from the provinces of Xinjiang to Henan, from Ningxia to Zhejiang and from Gansu to Hunan.

On Monday, the NEA issued a statement saying China aims to stop all renewable energy wastage by 2020.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger