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New energy power waste worsens as capacity grows

China has the world's largest installed capacity of wind and solar power, but an imbalanced distribution of wind resources and an imperfect grid system is leaving billion kilowatt hours of generated clean energy abandoned and wasted.

China’s capacity for wind and solar power generation continued to grow in 2016, but a larger percentage of electricity from these clean sources was wasted, an industrial report said Thursday.

The rise of abandoned electricity has affected the sustainable development of new energy in China, said the 2016 China energy development report, released by Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute, a think tank under the state-owned China Energy Engineering Group.

China has been encouraging the development of clean energy sources in recent years to reduce the country’s heavy reliance on coal, which accounts for about 72 per cent of the energy consumption mix.

But a race to build wind farms in resource-rich northern regions has led to a serious problem of over-development.

Output soon surpassed local demand and there are no adequate transmission facilities to send it elsewhere, or it is not economically viable to do so.

The waste of new energy power is a headache for China as a result of imbalanced distribution of wind resources and an imperfect grid system.

Liu Jizhen, academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering

Close to 50 billion kilowatt hours of wind power were abandoned, accounting for 17 per cent of the total generated wind power, up 2 percentage points from a year earlier.

For solar power, about 20 per cent of the electricity produced in the northwest region was also wasted.

“The waste of new energy power is a headache for China as a result of imbalanced distribution of wind resources and an imperfect grid system,” said Liu Jizhen, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“More transmission lines should be built to make better use of the power generated,” he said, citing the report.

China has the world’s largest installed capacity of wind and solar power. They, however, account for only 4.9 percent of the country’s total energy production mix.

The report predicts the installed capacity of wind and solar power to continue their rapid growth in 2017, but more will be located in the eastern and central regions where the demand is high.

It suggested that new energy power projects should not be approved in regions where more than 10 percent of wind power or 5 percent of solar power were wasted in the previous year.

This story was published with permission from

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