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China Sends In The Inspectors In To Clamp Down On Wasted Renewable Energy

Chinese officials have dispatched inspectors throughout the country as part of a renewed effort to avoid wind and solar power from being wasted.

The inspectors are also monitoring the roll-out of the country’s new solar policies, which are a stepping stone to truly subsidy-free renewable from the country. A mix of factors, from mismatched supply and need to inadequate grid capacity, could result in just what the industry describes as curtailment.

Essentially it amounts to shunting generating renewable energy plants off until such time as that power is necessary again or there’s someplace for it to go. Many companies including producers of solar panels and other gear, supplement their revenue by developing projects.

However, with curtailment rates commonly in the double digits, those and the pure-play developers are seeing their profits curtailed too. This might have been sustainable in the days of generous subsidy but the new service mechanism requires jobs to run on a cost per unit of electricity near the amount of coal. Would-be developers took part in a reverse auction bidding for a premium over and above the regional benchmark cost for power. The margins are now slimmer.

Among the ten largest winners were the world’s biggest panel maker Jinko Solar and also the second-largest inverter manufacturer Sun grow.

The inspectors will likely wind up spending a lot of their time in China’s northern deserts where curtailment has previously been a struggle.

At the start of 2017, the counters National Energy Administration reported curtailments prices of 39% in Xinjiang province and 19% in Gansu province. The latest figure for Xinjiang, released a week, is 10.6%, a sign that the coverage of stopping new ability and reinforcing the grid is making an impact. At the beginning of 2019 the State Grid Corporation announced plans for five fresh pumped hydro energy storage facilities as part of an effort to attack the curtailment challenge.

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