Inadequacy of China’s existing new energy policies and opportunities for energy storage

Insufficiency of China’s existing new energy policy

1. Poor forward-looking planning policies

China’s government departments have formulated more plans for the development of the new energy industry. The original role and purpose of these plans is to guide the development of the industry. However, practice has proved that these plans are not very forward-looking for industrial development, and many development goals are often too conservative and are far out of touch with actual industrial development. For example, the National Development and Reform Commission has successively promulgated the “Medium and Long-term Development Plan for Renewable Energy” and the “Twelfth Five-Year Development Plan for Renewable Energy Development” to plan the domestic installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation. According to the “Renewable Energy Mid- and Long-Term Development Plan”, the total domestic installed photovoltaic capacity will be 1.8GW by 2020. However, in fact, as of 2011, China’s cumulative installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation reached 3GW, far exceeding the target established that year. The planning target is an important starting point for the formulation of national policies. A target that is too low will weaken the country’s policy support, thereby affecting the enthusiasm of the industry and thus affecting the expansion of the domestic new energy industry.

2. Support policies are narrowly targeted

The development of the new energy industry involves multiple links, including resource assessment, technical equipment manufacturing, installation, and grid connection. The development of each link will have a great impact on the overall development of China’s new energy industry. Since the development of new energy is currently subject to cost constraints, the state needs to provide a certain amount of financial subsidy policy support. However, as far as the current support policy system is concerned, most of the subsidy policies are concentrated in one or two links, such as equipment manufacturing and installation. For the more important links such as grid connection, there are not many relevant support policies, which has caused the unbalanced development of the industrial chain, affected the expansion of industrial clusters, and ultimately is not conducive to the expansion and strengthening of China’s new energy industry.

3. Weak supervision policies

For the development of the new energy industry, not only planning policies and supporting policies need to be given, but also supervision policies are also needed. Restrictive supervision policies are the guarantee of the development order of the industry and an important starting point for the country’s macro-control. At present, the Chinese government has not given many restrictions and supervision policies for the development of the new energy industry. In the existing supervision policies, the implementation subject of some policies is unclear and the disposal measures are vague, resulting in the hollowing out of the policy and lack of execution, which does not play the role of constraint and supervision originally designed, resulting in the out of control of some industrial development links, forming a situation of capacity accumulation or excess capacity, which hinders the benign development of the industry.

Opportunities for energy storage

With the transmission line not yet completed and the capacity of local peak and frequency modulation units limited, the development of wind power has encountered a “bottleneck”. The approval of high-voltage transmission lines is cumbersome and the construction period is long. For a long period of time, the construction of high-voltage transmission lines will be much lower than the installed capacity of wind power, and it is difficult to fundamentally solve the problem of wind abandonment in some areas. The construction of peak and frequency modulation power supplies in the “Three Norths” area cannot be completed overnight, and it is difficult to fundamentally change the original power supply structure in a short period of time. Therefore, tapping the flexibility of the local power grid and improving the ability of the local power grid to absorb wind power has become a key factor in determining the development of wind power. Energy storage is one of the key technologies to improve the flexibility of the power grid and improve the ability of local power grids to absorb wind power. Compared with high-voltage trans-provincial and cross-regional power grid transmission lines, peak and frequency modulation units, and load-side management, energy storage has its own unique advantages:

(1) Strong peak and frequency modulation capabilities mainly refer to fast response speed, high degree of informationization and automation, which is convenient for grid dispatching.

(2) Reduce the capacity of standby units, improve unit operating efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(3) Zero-emission balancing means. The application of energy storage technology in the connection of wind power. Electric energy comes from wind power, and zero emissions are guaranteed during the adjustment process, which is in line with the original intention of developing wind power.

(4) There are many technical options, simple construction and installation, and short construction period. In addition to pumped storage and underground compressed air energy storage technology, the installation of energy storage power stations is less restricted by the site, easy to construct, and does not involve immigration, large-scale land acquisition and other issues.

From a long-term perspective, China’s energy-saving and emission-reduction indicators will become higher and higher, and energy storage, as an effective solution for renewable energy access, will surely be gradually promoted in the power system. At the end of 2011, the Zhangbei Wind Power Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project was officially put into operation, marking that China will gradually master the design, construction, dispatch and operation experience of energy storage wind power grid-connected projects, and how to use energy storage to solve wind power grid-connected problems will be further clarified.

In the future, with the demonstration and application of energy storage systems, the development of grid-connected wind power will break through the bottleneck, and the grid-connected rate of wind power will gradually increase. At the same time, with the rapid development of wind power, energy storage will also face more market opportunities.