Yang Kun: Digital Transformation Accelerate the New Type Power System

from:China Electricity Councildate:2021-05-28

Guangzhou, May 15, 2021/CEC/ - Yang Kun, the Vice President of China Electricity Council attended the Press Conference held by China Southern Power Grid (CSG) for publishing the “White Paper on the Action Plan of the New Type Power System from Year 2021 to 2030” on May 15, 2021. Onsite, Yang Kun was interviewed by CSG50Hz, a social media operated by CSG, discussing how the power grid industry to meet the nation’s Carbon Neutrality Targets with the construction of the new type power system.

CSG50Hz: The annual plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature of the country, held in March unveiled new targets for achieving carbon neutralization. On September 22, 2020, President Xi Jinping said at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly that China would peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. From your point of view, what does this mean to the power grid industry?

Yang Kun: China's aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 will create the most market opportunities for the power grid companies that adjust to fit into the country's low carbon energy structure. China is sure to be less reliant on coal and increase the weighting of natural gas and other clean energies in its power structure. To support the mentioned power structure requires a new type power system. As you can see, the low-carbon techniques and the digital transformation both play important roles for the new type power system construction. The power grid industry also faces the great challenges. With large amount of carbon dioxide emission, there is only 30 years for China to achieve the carbon neutral targets, which is not an easy task for the power grid industry and make it under more pressure to quickly construct a new type power system which meets the demands on more flexible, electronical and digital power grid dispatching.  

CSG50Hz: Could you explain how to speed up the construction of power supply pattern with clean energies as mainstay in building a new type power system?

Yang Kun: Firstly, to keep the rapid development of wind and solar energy. More effort shall be made in improving power generation scale of wind and photovoltaic, adhering to the integration of centralized and distributed construction. Under the premise of coordinated development of generating, transmitting and consuming, we aim to build clean power bases with clean energy as mainstay, to realize the intensive and efficient development of new energies in “Three North" area (Northwest China, North China and Northeast China), actively develop the wind and solar energy in central and eastern area, orderly develop offshore wind energy and build a offshore wind power base in southeast coast. Secondly, to actively promote the development of hydro power, nuclear power, and gas power. Focusing on the main rivers in the southwest China, we aim to accelerate the development of leading power stations with high regulatory effect and implement the development of the hydropower in the downstream of Yarlung Zangbo River; launch a batch of coastal nuclear power projects under the policy of safe and ordered developing. During the "15th and 16th Five-Year Plan" period, the pace of the construction of nuclear power should be gradually accelerated. At the same time, we need to pay attention to coordinate the supply and assurance of gas sources and affordability of gas and electricity. Gas power stations for peak shaving should be moderately developed according to the circumstances, especially in the electricity load centers in the Eastern China and the western areas along the gas pipelines abundant with clean energy resources. We will also give attention to the flexible transformation of thermal power, improving its system regulation ability. 

CSG50Hz: What is your comment on CSG’s “White Paper on the Action Plan for the Construction of the New Type Power System from Year 2021 to 2030”?

Yang Kun: The White Paper is monumental for the latest transformation of the energy consumption in China and provides a systematic and comprehensive insights on the construction of the new type power system. We believe that CSG would play an important role with its great efforts on archiving the nation’s carbon neutrality targets.

CSG50Hz: For the construction of the new type power system, what is the role the digital transformation would play?

Yang Kun: Now we talk a lot about the digitalization transformation in the power grid industry e.g., physical power system digitalization or digital twin power network etc. Our point of view is that the digitalization transformation is the important way for the power grid industry to accelerate the new type power system construction. CSG raised the opinion that the digitalization empowers the new type power system in its White Paper and we are highly in favor of this argument. New type power system will present deep combination of digital and physical systems, using data of flow to lead and optimize energy flow and business flow, then empowering electricity grid with super perception, intelligent decision and quick execution abilities. In the same way to build multi-integration and high flexibility power grid to accommodate high percentage of new energy access and high percentage of electronic equipment access, it needs to build a wide coordination network, digitalization-driven and proactive defense and intelligent decision new operative system. Moreover, we need to strengthen the construction of prediction and alarm system to guarantee recovering ability of power system under extreme events.

CSG50Hz: Since to build the new type power system is a Must, how do the power grid company to balance the cost and profit for applying the system?

Yang Kun: To construct the new type power system to meet the nation’s carbon neutrality targets, the power grid company would face the problem of how to find the balance between its social responsibility and its profit target. Large scale development of new energy  and technical progress will bring a sharp reduction on the construction costs of wind power, solar power and new energy storage facilities. At the same time, since clean energy is characterized by random, intermittency and fluctuation, new power system need to  ensure safe power  supply and accommodate  high penetration rate of new energy. Under such premises, we must put more efforts on improving system operation capability, thus the cost arising from the  consumption of new energy by the system needs more attention. Therefore, we not only need to accelerate new electric system construction, ensuring to achieve the carbon neutrality targets in time, but also need to consider the mentioned balance of the social responsibility and company’s profit while drafting and optimizing the roadmap of implementation, achieving  the dynamic balance between carbon reduction with low cost and high-quality development.

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