SHANGHAI, April 19 The amount of electricity
wasted by China's solar and wind power sectors rose
significantly last year, environment group Greenpeace said in a
research report published on Wednesday, despite government
pledges to rectify the problem.
China promised last year to improve what it called the
"rhythm" of construction of power transmission lines and
renewable generation to avoid "curtailment," which occurs when
there is insufficient transmission to absorb the power generated
by the renewable projects.
But Greenpeace said wasted wind power still rose to 17
percent of the total generated by wind farms last year, up from
8 percent in 2014. The amount that failed to make it to the grid
was enough to power China's capital Beijing for the whole of
2015, it added.
Wasted wind generation in the northwestern province of Gansu
was 43 percent of the total generated last year, it said.
Solar curtailment rates across China rose 50 percent over
2015 and 2016. More than 30 percent of available solar power in
Gansu and neighbouring Xinjiang failed to reach the grid.
In an earlier report Greenpeace said total solar and wind
investment between now and 2030 could reach as much as $780
But, rising levels of waste had cost the industry as much as
34.1 billion yuan ($4.95 billion) in lost earnings over the 2015
to 2016 period, it said on Wednesday.
China produced 12.3 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar
power in the first quarter of 2017, up 31 percent year-on-year
but accounting for just 1.1 percent of total generation over the
period, according to official data on Monday. Wind rose to 62.1
billion kWh, 4.3 percent of the total, but was dwarfed by the
77.9 percent share occupied by thermal electricity.
Grid construction has fallen behind, with China focusing on
expensive ultra-high voltage cross-country lines, which are
better suited to large-scale power generation projects,
including large hydropower facilities in the southwest.
"Upgrades to the system are urgently needed, including a
more flexible physical structure of the grid, efficient
cross-region transmission channels and smart peak load
operation," said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Yuan
Many regions have used wind and solar only as back-up
electricity sources during peak periods, and much of it falls
idle when power use drops.
According to official data, the renewables base of
Zhangjiakou, north of Beijing, has more than four times the wind
and solar installations than the local grid can handle, and
capacity is still set to increase rapidly.
($1 = 6.8894 yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)