How does China's renewable energy capacity meet the demand of the large population? And what developing countries can learn from China’s lessons in order to provide practical, efficient and cost-effective renewable energy?
With those questions in mind, the students from the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD) participated in the lecture series titled “Retrospect and Prospect of Renewable Energy Development Across the World and in China" at Peking University Public Policy Forum International on March 19，2018. Mr. Li Junfeng, the former Director of National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, delivered a speech on China’s renewable energy development experience and development goals, and shared his insights with students from ISSCAD on the forefront of renewable energy issues.
In the welcome and introductory remarks, the Academic Dean of the ISSCAD, Professor FU Jun notified students of ISSCAD in attendance that he hoped the lecture could provide them in-depth understanding of renewable energy development status and trends in China.
On the topic of the development of renewable energy, Speaker Mr. Li Junfeng pointed out the total investment into renewable energy and energy intelligence technology across the world is continuing to increase in 2017 according to the data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Mr.Li Junfeng emphasized，the importance and urgency of speeding up renewable energy is to solve issues of environment emission, resource consumption and the high cost of economy. Though fossil power accounting for 60% of China’s primary energy consumption, the scale of renewables application continued to grow, and its ratio out of energy consumption further increase and double in 10 years, which implies the role of replacement is becoming increasingly evident.
In the lecture, Mr. Li Junfeng introduced the development, distribution, and utilization of hydropower, wind power, solar power, and biomass. China ranks the world No.1 in installed hydropower capacity, new and cumulative wind power installed capacity and in PV cell capacity.
He also pointed out that China’s renewable energy has market competitiveness in engineering technology and equipment manufacturing, and the economic cost of renewables has been declining. For example, the benchmark prices for ground photovoltaic power station were cut down for three consecutive years and distributed PV power continued to enjoy a subsidy for 4 years.
However, Mr. Li Junfeng also highlighted, though China has been ranking the world’s top in installed capacity, the development of renewable energy in China also faces challenges. The problem of power curtailment has not yet been improved, resulting in a huge waste of energy investment. Annual hydropower curtailment was up to 51.5 billion Kwh, and wind curtailment is serious in the northern regions of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Gansu. Mr. Li explained the main reasons for energy curtailment are slow growth in demand, too quick growth of installed capacity, inadequate consumption capability from the market, and unreasonable electricity source structure. Thus, the 13th Five-Year Development Plan will focus more on energy utilization and stability instead of power capacity.
The participants agreed with Mr. Li Junfeng and exchanged their own opinions on the application of new energy in developing countries. Students also expressed their concerns about the high cost of renewable energy as well as the efficiency of the power. Mr. Li Junfeng replied, it was essential to balance the cost, flexibility, and efficiency, and China is exploring the best choice through the practice.