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As Cities Fill with Smog, China Embraces Stable and Regulated Renewable Development in 2013

China's renewable energy sector is expected to adopt a more stable and regulated development pace in 2013 as many favorable policies to drive the development of the sector have been established, along with increased awareness of environmental protection and benefits of renewable energy. This comes after increased reports of cities around the country have found themselves blanketed by severe smog and haze in recent months.

According to former president Hu Jintao’s report at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country is urged to decrease coal-based energy usage and increase the proportion of renewable energy in end-user energy consumption. In addition, the functions of the National Energy Administration and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission will be consolidated as per the country’s State Council’s institutional reform and function transformation scheme. This move is expected to not only standardize the market of renewable energy, but also facilitate distributed power generation in China over the next few years. 

The National Energy Administration will also launch a comprehensive optimization plan for the wind power sector, including room for growth, transmission, operations and approval process, which will include: 

More growth space for the wind sector. The National Energy Administration approved the third group of wind power projects with a combined capacity of 28.7 MW in March. In total, 491 wind power projects were approved by the administration with a combined capacity of 28 MW. As a result, more than 80 MW of wind farm capacity has been approved since 2011. In 2013, the country plans to enhance operations in a move to speed up the coordination between the wind power sector and the electricity grid, offering more room for growth of the sector 

Solve wind power transmission issues. State Grid Corp, China’s largest power utility, said recently that it plans to get approval and start construction of seven extra-high voltage power transmission lines in 2013, according to its corporate social responsibility report. By the end of 2015, the company's extra-high voltage and cross-region power transmission capacities is on track to reach 210 GW. This will significantly relieve wind power transmission issues across the country.

Improve wind power operation. China’sNational Energy Administration will revolutionize the entire price system in 2013, enabling smooth power dispatching and offering a sustainable route onto the grid for every kind of power source, including fire electricity.

Examination and approval process for wind power projects to become more flexible. This year, limits on the number of facilities and power of the facility will be reduced to increase opportunities for developers. 

In addition, regulations concerning renewable energy quota management are in the pipeline and these regulations are expected to help overcome the significant hurdles now preventing power generated by projects from reaching the nation's electricity distribution system. The new rules include a proposed quota system that would force the nation's distribution grid operators to carry a certain amount of power generated by renewable sources on their transmission lines.

Lead image: China skyline smog via Shutterstock

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