Last month on June 14, 2016, CNESA, in partnership with North China Electric Power University, jointly launched a training course titled “Distributed Generation and Microgrids.”Chief specialist at the China Electric Power Research Institute, Xuehao Hu, conducted the session. All 19 members of CNESA’s secretariat were in attendance.
Hu began the lecture by introducing the background of distributed generation, its fundamental features, types of distributed generation networks, its prominent role in the energy sphere, as well as how China’s current technology compares to international developments in the field. It is currently estimated that by 2020, distributed generation will make up approximately 9% of all electricity generated in China (excluding small-scale hydropower, this number is closer to 5%), making distributed generation an important part of China’s electric generation system.
Hu continued by introducing the interconnected issues of distributed generation and the grid. Connecting distributed energy sources to the grid poses many challenges. First, there are design problems in the traditional grid as well as connectivity issues. Energy generated by renewable sources also, by its very nature, is intermittent and relatively unpredictable. Furthermore, the economics of grid planning poses a whole new set of challenges.
Next, Hu presented a detailed discussion on how China should formulate its own set of standards on distributed generation. While it is important to refer to already established European and American standards, Hu argues China must also consider the different circumstances in its own energy landscape. Thus, he concluded, Chinese standards can draw inspiration from, but cannot entirely resemble those of the U.S., Europe, and other developed nations.
Regarding microgrids, Hu highlighted the principal difficulties and key technologies associated with microgrids. Compared to distributed generation networks, microgrids have been in development for a relatively short time. Consequently future construction and design efforts must give sufficient consideration to technological concerns, economics, as well as natural variables in the environment (i.e. temperature, availability of light, sun, air, etc.) Careful design of microgrids, Hu argues, is how we can keep costs low and reap the largest benefits.
To make his final point, Hu pointed out that distributed generation and microgirds in the form of solar power are, in fact, already widespread in China’s poorest regions. Hu hopes that advances in distributed generation and microgrids can and build off of and deepen these existing networks.
With the successful completion of this first training course, CNESA will continue to strive to integrate resources from government, scientific experts, and private industry in order to provide alliance members with the highest quality content and services.