First Time in Olympic History: All Venues Fully Powered with 100% Green Electricity

from:China Electricity Councildate:2022-03-16

Located in Zhangbei County of Hebei Province, a wind turbine with a rotor diameter of 146 meters generates about 24.5 MWh of electricity a day on average. The electricity, when delivered to Beijing via the 666 km-long Zhangbei Renewable Energy VSC-HVDC Grid Demonstration Project ("Zhangbei VSC-HVDC" project), can meet the needs for all the snow-making at Big Air Shougang during the Olympics, equivalent to snowing a standard basketball court to 28 meters high.

Beijing 2022 is committed to its mission of hosting "green, inclusive, open and clean" Olympic Winter Games. Hosting Green Olympics, requires ecological priority, resource conservation, and environmental friendliness, laying a beautiful China background for the Winter Olympics, said President Xi Jinping during his inspection in Beijing in February 2017.

Wind power from Zhangbei lights up the Winter Olympics. All the Beijing 2022 venues would be supplied with green electricity, according to Liu Yumin, head of the Venue Planning and Construction Department of the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on January 13, 2022. It is estimated that, by the end of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, the Winter Olympics venues are expected to consume about 400 GWh of green electricity, equivalent to a reduction of 128,000 tons of standard coal burning and a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 320,000 tons.

Green electricity visible

Each kWh of green electricity is traceable and verifiable

By the Yongding River, a 164-meter-long ski track is flying like a white ribbon besides the four 70-meter-high cooling towers. Here is the Big Air Shougang, originally a Shougang power plant, now the place where Olympians compete for four gold medals for snowboard big air and freestyle skiing big air from February 7.

First Time in Olympic History: All Venues Fully Powered with 100% Green Electricity-1

The power support team for Big Air Shougang carrying out equipment inspection

Before the start of the competitions, 11 high-power snow guns were at full power, with atomized water columns spewing out before condensing into snowflakes and falling on the snow-covered track.

A total of 11,500 cubic meters of snow would be made at Big Air Shougang during the Winter Olympics. "Electricity consumption for snowmaking is about 20 MWh, with an additional 100 MWh for maintenance and snow replenishment during competitions. The electricity is 100% green, which in the past would have meant burning more than 32 tons of standard coal," said Zhang Qing, manager of Shijingshan Power Supply Company of State Grid Beijing Electric Power.

Not only for Big Air Shougang, all 26 venues in three competition zones run on green electricity during Beijing 2022. "State Grid has built the Winter Olympics Power Operation Support and Command Center, and increased the power supply reliability of the competition zones to 99.999%, the highest standard of any Winter Olympics. For the first time in the history of the Olympics, all venues will be powered with 100% green electricity," said Peng Huagang, secretary-general of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on January 19.

At the State Grid Winter Olympics Power Operation Support and Command Center, a big screen of its platform displays a map in different colors, marking the information of important sites and places such as Winter Olympics venues, converter stations, and routes between venues. This "smart brain" built on the site of the former Shougang Coking Plant facilitates real time monitoring and consolidated management of power operation of the venues in the three competition zones in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.

"The platform extends power supply support to the ‘last centimeter’ of the venue side, and monitors the power equipment of the Winter Olympic venues 24 hours a day. It keeps updating the operation of equipment and the internal and external environment at all times, and guides the site power team to carry out patrols and emergency responses," said Dai Guisheng, deputy director of the Winter Olympics Office of State Grid Beijing Electric Power. Meanwhile, the company keeps the whole-process data records of green electricity for the Winter Olympics, making it possible to trace and verify each kWh of green electricity, and providing credible evidence for 100% green electricity use during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Green electricity supply ensured

A total of 755 GWh traded for Beijing 2022

While driving in Zhangjiakou, a great number of wind turbines are seen on the grassland, with blades rotating elegantly.

As one can see, the Beijing 2022 emblem and the Olympic rings are painted on the wind turbine towers. It signifies that they are one of the sources of green electricity to light up Beijing 2022. Yang Yongsheng, deputy manager of the multi-energy complementary wind power project in the wind farm in Mijiagou Village of Zhangbei County, is working with his technical team maintaining equipment to ensure the supply of green electricity for the Winter Olympics.

First Time in Olympic History: All Venues Fully Powered with 100% Green Electricity-2

Wind Turbines in Zhangbei

"With a rotor diameter of 146 meters, the swept area of one rotation is more than 16,700 square meters, equivalent to 2.3 standard football fields," said Yang Yongsheng. When such a wind turbine is running at full capacity, each rotation generates 4.8 kWh of green electricity, and the average daily power generation is about 24.5 MWh.

Zhangbei County is 45 kilometers away from Zhangjiakou City, with a maximum altitude difference from the city center of over 1,000 meters. The huge disparity in temperature between high and low altitudes results in strong air convection, making Zhangbei the main airflow channel for cold air from the Mongolian Plateau into the North China Plain. Currently, the installed capacity of renewable energy in Zhangjiakou has reached 23.47 GW, an increase of about 13 GW compared with 2015.

In the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics Low-Carbon Management Work Plan issued in June 2019 by the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, it is proposed that "renewable energy will be made full use to meet the conventional power demand for the venues by means of renewable energy consumption such as solar and wind power, the cross-regional green electricity trading mechanism for the Beijing Winter Olympics, and the multi-energy complementarity of energy storage system and power electronic equipment."

One kWh of green electricity can light up the main stage of the Beijing Medals Plaza for 22 seconds or allow chefs to prepare two dishes in the "all-electric kitchen" of the Winter Olympic Village. Behind this, Beijing and Zhangjiakou work together to explore a market-oriented green electricity supply mechanism so as to ensure that all green electricity demand for the Winter Olympic venues and ancillary facilities are fully met during the construction, test competitions and competitions period. Since June 2019, Beijing Power Exchange Center Company has organized 8 lots of green electricity tradings for the Beijing Winter Olympics, with a traded volume of 755 GWh.

Green electricity supply is stable

Pumped-storage turns surplus power in valley period into high-quality power for peak period

A drone was flying on a high-altitude intelligent inspection tour over the towers standing high on the mountain and the transmission lines passing through the forests.

In order to ensure power supply for the Winter Olympics, State Grid Beijing Electric Power deployed drones for full-scale power inspections and thus increased the efficiency by more than 8 times and reduced the number of on-site operators by more than half, according to Yan Chunjiang, deputy director of Equipment Department of State Grid Beijing Electric Power.

First Time in Olympic History: All Venues Fully Powered with 100% Green Electricity-3

The upper reservoir of Fengning Pumped-Storage Power Station

"Construction conditions are harsh as the project passes through interconnected mountains and valleys with complex and changing climate," said Lei Weimin, deputy director of the Winter Olympics Office of State Grid Jibei Electric Power Grid Company. 70% of the route of Zhangbei VSC-HVDC Grid is located in hills and mountains, with alpine and windy weather conditions. In over two years from the start of construction in February 2018 to the official operation in June 2020, employees involved in the construction of the project overcame 12 global challenges in the field of large-scale new energy grid connection and consumption. The project delivers 14 TWh of green electricity annually.

"Generated from wind and solar in Zhangbei, the green electricity is delivered to Beijing. The supply must be ensured and stable," said Lei Weimin. One of the challenges of wind power is the uncertainty of wind, while electricity itself cannot be stored in large quantities. It might be quiet and windless during the peak period, and strong wind might coincide with valley period. How to balance the peak and the valley? The pumped-storage power plant offers a solution for converting wind energy into hydraulic potential.

The Fengning Pumped-Storage Power Station in Fengning Manchu Autonomous County, Hebei Province, adjacent to Beijing, stands among the towering peaks and deep valleys, with a height difference of more than 400 meters. It connects the upper and lower reservoirs of a storage capacity of over 48 million cubic meters each, and was put into power generation on December 30, 2021.

"In short, the power station is on standby, ready for being put into use whenever needed," said Peng Bing, head of the Fengning Electromechanical Installation Project. During the valley consumption period, the power station makes use of the electricity that cannot be stored to pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper one, converting electricity into hydraulic potential that can be stored. During the peak period, water in the upper reservoir will be released to the power plant for power generation, taking advantage of the altitude difference of more than 400 meters. In this way, the surplus power during the valley period is converted into high-quality power during the peak. "The total installed capacity of 3.6 GW works as a super ‘power bank’ for the Beijing Winter Olympics," said Peng Bing.

(Published on page 14 of the People's Daily on February 10, 2022)

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