TODAY’S STUDY: HOW MUCH NEW ENERGY CAN CHINA BUILD?
China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario And Roadmap Study
April 2015 (Energy Research Institute/National Development and Reform Commission)
High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario: Vision And Consensus
We are continuously writing new chapters in our history. In the history of energy, it is an irreversible path that we will gradually move away from dependence on fossil fuels and transit to a “high renewable energy penetration” future. The international community has reached a consensus that high renewable energy penetration is a critical part of the efforts to tackle climate change and control temperature rise below 2 degrees. Europe and America have been first in taking the meaningful step of providing blueprints. As the world's largest developing country, largest coal consumer, and largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is confronted with challenges that are more urgent and arduous as it transforms toward clean, low-carbon energy. "China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study" analyzes how China can gradually phase out fossil energy, especially coal, from its leading role in China's energy development, and give low-carbon green electricity a prime part to play. This vision will help advance the goal of a "Beautiful China" with the development level of medium-income countries, clear water and blue skies. The study takes high renewable energy penetration as the goal and greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants as basic constraints; it conducts technical and economic evaluation, power system production simulation, social and economic impact evaluation, etc., and based on these optimizes renewable energy deployment pathways under different scenarios as well as puts forward corresponding implementation schemes. Results show that a high renewable energy penetration scenario in 2050 is both technically and economically feasible, in which renewables account for over 60% in China’s total energy consumption and over 85% in total electricity consumption – signifying a true revolution of energy production and consumption.
By 2050, Renewable Energy Could Meet More Than 60% of Primary Energy Demand In a high renewable energy penetration scenario where over 60% of end-use energy consumption is electricity, the energy system in 2050 is highly efficient, with energy efficiency 90% higher than in 2010. By that time, primary energy consumption is 3.4 billion tons of coal equivalent, and renewable energy accounts for 62%. High Renewable Energy Penetration Will Promote Fossil Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions to Peak by 2025 Under the high renewable energy penetration scenario, coal consumption will be effectively controlled and the coal consumption peak can be reached by 2020. The consumption peak of fossil energy will be realized by 2025, and thereby reaching the goal of peaking greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 will be assured and most likely to happen as early as by 2025
Renewable Power is the Essential Replacement for Fossil Energy
By 2050, the national total power generation will be 15.2 trillion kWh, 86% of which will be renewable power and 91% non-fossil energy, while coal power drops to below 7%.
Wind Power and Solar Power Will Become Important Pillars of the Future Power Supply
Through technological breakthroughs, cost reductions as well as the comprehensively deepening of power sector reforms, between 2020 and 2040, wind and solar power will develop rapidly, with an average of annual newly installed capacity of close to 100 million kW. By 2050, 2.4 billion kW of wind power and 2.7 billion kW of solar power will be installed, with a total annual output of 9.66 trillion kWh, which will account for 64% of China’s total power generation and will become the main power source of the future green electricity system.
Various areas of the country will have the ability of developing wind power and solar power on a large scale, laying equal emphasis on centralized and distributed development.
Higher Electrification Rate Will Enable Renewable Energy to Grow to a Higher Level
By 2050, China’s end-use energy consumption will reach 3.2 billion tons of coal equivalent, of which electricity will account for 60%, 36 percentage points higher than that of 2010. Electricity will become the main form of energy for people’s production and living.
Transfrom the Electricity Transmission Network to a Platform for Optimizing Resources Allocation
With the increase of renewable power generation, we need to expand the transmission infrastructure in order to integrate renewable energy in a larger geographical area. Regional interconnection and expansion of the balancing area is helpful to reduce the changes in net load. There will be three cross regional transmission lines with a gross capacity of more than 100 million kW, respectively, the Northwest-Central China line, Central China-East China line and North China-East China line.
Technological and Institutional Innovation is the Foundation to Build a High Renewable Energy Penetration Power System
The contribution of variable power will rise from 30% to 60% in high penetration scenario as compared with in reference scenario, making it more challenging to ensure the real-time balance between electricity supply and demand. Variability and uncertainty associated with high-penetration wind power and solar power will be managed through increasing power trading in market, adding flexible generation capacity, improving the flexibility of coal power, using energy storage technology and demand response mechanism, as well as expanding transmission infrastructure.
Building a High Renewable Energy Penetration Power System at a Small or Non-Incremental Cost
In the high renewable energy penetration scenario, the average cost of electricity will rise slightly between 2030 and 2050, basically remaining between RMB0.672/kWh and RMB0.685 yuan/kWh. Most of the incremental capital investment of the high penetration scenario will be offset by saving the fuel cost of fossil energy which would otherwise happen in the reference scenario, and China could realize a high penetration scenario with a small or non incremental cost.
As a New Economic Growth Point, Renewable Energy Can Significantly Improve the Development Quality of the Overall Economy
Emerging industries like wind power, solar power, and electric vehicle will become a new economic growth point. In 2050, the added value of renewable energy industries will grow to RMB17 trillion, making a contribution of 6.2% to the GDP of that year. The added value of electric vehicle industry will grow to close to RMB 8 trillion, accounting for 2.9% of the GDP.
The high renewable energy penetration scenario will create 12 million jobs in 2050 in the renewable energy and related industries, which will promote the transmission of China’s employed population from traditional manufacturing to high value add industries.
High Renewable Energy Penetration Will Help Bring Back Clear Water and Blue Skies
Major pollutants and CO2 emitted by the combustion of fossil fuel will decrease significantly. The emissions of major pollutants (SO2, NOx, mercury, etc.) in 2050 will hold the line of that in 1980. The emissions of CO2 will decrease to 3 billion tons, making outstanding contributions to slowing down global climate change…