China’s Xinjiang Region Cuts Wind and Solar Curtailment Rate by Almost 30 Percent

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The staggeringly high curtailment rates among wind power and PV systems across Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region witnessed a 29.3 percent drop over the first 11 months of 2017, down 10 percent from the same period of a year earlier as the region worked to overcome difficulties caused by the rapid growth of renewables.

Solar PV plant curtailments stood at 21.4 percent, down 11.3 percentage points, according to statistics from State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Company.

The decline reflected growth of utilization efficiency across the region’s wind power and photovoltaic sector. For the 11 months, the region’s average utilization hours of wind power equipment reached 1,696 hours, an increase of 233 hours from a year earlier, while that for solar energy generating equipment clocked in at 1,150 hours, up 212 hours.

Xinjiang experienced blockbuster growth in the installed capacity of new energy projects over the last year. As of the end of November, it had reached 27.43 GW, placing the region first among China’s state grid systems and accounting for 34 percent of the country’s total. The sector overall generated 39 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity for the region, an increase of 46.7 percent from a year earlier.

However, due to the slowdown of electricity demand and difficulties associated with power grid peaking during winter inside Xinjiang as well as elsewhere in China, the level of curtailment across the region had reached serious proportions in recent years. For this reason, China decided last year to suspend the construction of new wind power projects in Xinjiang, Jilin and Inner Mongolia.

In addition, the responsible authorities for the region undertook moves to increase electricity consumption, including projects to expand electrification, promote the conversion of certain industries from fossil fuels to wind, especially for projects involving heating, and encourage the direct trading of new energy among large users, in an effort to continuously improve the proportion of energy consumed as originating for renewable sources.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region plans to continue its new energy reforms, encouraging more wind power construction, promoting the barter of new energy among providers, and working with other regions across China to send excess electricity to those areas where demand exceeds supply.

Lead image: Solar in China. Credit: DepositPhotos.

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