Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smart energy fuels China’s energy conservation and emission reduction

BEIJING, CHINA: Smart energy is recognized as an important approach to achieve energy conservation and emission reduction as well as accelerate the industrial upgrade in China, for it is real-time, secure, cost-effective and efficient.

Smart energy involves the production, transmission, measurement and management, storage and application of power, aiming to optimize system energy efficiency utilizing the modern information technology. At present, the key fields of smart energy include new energy, smart grid, battery, new energy vehicles and LED lighting.

New energy
New energy like solar energy and wind energy will become an important part of power generation, taking up a growing percentage in China’s power supply structure.

Solar energy: Impacted by the European debt crisis in 2011, the global PV market, especially European market, shrank quickly, while China's PV market experienced a fast growth thanks to a host of favorable policies such as the launch of benchmark on-grid price. In 2011, China’s new PV installed capacity came to 2.2GW.

Wind energy: In 2010, the world's wind power installed capacity continued to grow rapidly and stably, and 37,700MW were added, bringing the total installed capacity to 195,600MW, up 23.9 percent from 2009. As a result, the global wind power equipment manufacturing has seen rapid development, fueling the prosperity of the new energy industry.

Smart grid
From 2009 to 2020, the State Grid Corporation of China plans to invest a total of RMB 3.45 trillion, among which RMB 384.1 billion will be allocated to smart power, or a 11.1 percent of the total. In the next decade, efforts will be stepped up to develop the smart grid. With smart grid, China will build an intelligent power management system, and with the aid of the telecommunications network technology, establish an energy measurement, remote meter reading, and electricity load control system, in order to meet the country’s demand for power and to safeguard its power grid security.

Meanwhile, this will also provide a new approach to the power management on the demand side. On the whole, to develop the smart grid technology, China will focus on the R&D and improvement of power grid equipment and energy measurement and management.

From 2008 to 2018, the global demand for energy storage is expected to grow from 111GW to 4,661GW, with an average annual growth rate of 45 percent. The demand for lithium battery totaled 3GW in 2008, which will reach approximately 727GW by 2013, and by 2018, 3,034GW. The CAGR is expected to get up to 100 percent. The fast growth is largely ascribable to the lithium-ion battery's high energy density, high voltage, long cycle life, sound safety, and its pollution-free feature.

New energy vehicles
In 2010, the total output of new energy passenger cars came to 1,061,000 worldwide, up 26.9 percent year-on-year, showing a steady rising trend. China's new energy vehicle industry is still at the startup stage, with outdated charging stations and supporting facilities. In the short and medium term, the new energy vehicle industry will focus on hybrid vehicles, supplemented by electric vehicles.

LED lighting
In the past few years, the global LED market has maintained a fast growth. The market size surged from $4.23 billion in 2006 to $7.93 billion in 2010. On the whole, as the market expansion continues and the product prices keep falling, the global LED market will maintain a stable growth rate in future.

Since smart energy has a bearing on the national power energy security and the implementation of the energy conservation and emission reduction program, China should vigorously develop the new energy technology, promote solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy, expedite the development of grid-connected PV power plants, and increase the percentage of new energy in its overall energy structure.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to combine power grid planning with its power supply
development, and energy storage planning with power grid and power supply development, so as to integrate power generation, transmission and storage on the whole power chain. Besides, China should actively encourage the application and promotion of new energy-efficient technologies like new energy vehicles and LED semiconductor lighting, in order to improve its energy efficiency and boost its competitiveness in the field of energy utilization.

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