With a view to utilizing large potential of solar energy source in the province, the Qinghai provincial government sought Asian Development Bank (ADB) assistance. The proposed TA is included in the Aide Memoire of 2010 PRC Country Programming Midterm Review Mission as a firm 2010 TA. The proposed TA is aligned with ADB's Energy Policy in 2009 in terms of greater use of renewable energy. It also addresses the key pillars of the Country Partnership Strategy (2008-2010).
The impact of the TA will be lowered capacity barriers in the planning, design, construction, and O&M of grid-connected solar PV development in Qinghai Province.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The 14th Session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress in February of 2005 enacted the Renewable Energy Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC) that provides feed-in tariff for some renewable technologies, specifies grid-feed in requirements and standard procedures, and establishes incentives and supervisory measures for promoting renewable energy development. Both the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) for National Economic and Social Development and the 11th FYP for Energy Development also confirm to encourage the diffusion of renewable energy and increase its share in the total primary energy mix. In 2007, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued the Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy in the PRC targeting to raise share of renewable energy in primary energy to 10% by 2010, and to 15% by 2020. In November 2009, State Council of the PRC announced voluntary action for climate change mitigation to reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emission per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the level of 2005. Raising the share of renewable energy to attain targeted energy mix by 2020 is also an integral measure for reducing carbon dioxide emission. Share of renewable energy in the total electricity generation has steadily increased from 7% in 2005 to 9% in 2008, and is likely to attain the target of 10% in 2010. However, the growth of all renewable energy sources have not shown uniform trend. While wind power has grown fast increasing from 1.3 gigawatt (GW) in 2005 to 25GW by 2009, the solar power has grown rather slowly.
The PRC has rich potential of solar energy with more than 5,000 mega joule per square meter (MJ/m2) of annual solar radiation and more than 2,000 hours average of sunshine in two-thirds of the country. Solar cell production in the PRC has been rapidly growing since 2004 and reached 4,100 megawatt (MW) in 2009 making it the largest in the world. However, installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) is still 1.5 % of 20 GW target by 2020. Because of the small size of domestic solar PV market, more than 98% or 4,011 MW of solar cell production in the PRC has been exported to other countries. Creating domestic market for solar PV remains a challenge to attain the 20 GW national target by 2020. Developing grid connected renewable energy system is another huge challenge in the PRC. Only 72% of total wind capacity of PRC is connected to the grid due to power output variation being derived from intermittent nature of wind. Solar energy having similar fluctuated natural cycles over short time scale will also face output variation problem. Controlling power output variation effectively however remains a challenge for large scale grid integrated solar PV.
Qinghai province which is located in the north east of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in western part of the PRC has rich abundant mineral and natural resources, while its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) is the second lowest in all provinces in PRC. To enhance economic development utilizing rich mineral and natural resource endowments in environmentally sustainable manner, Qinghai provincial government has set a development agenda for promoting solar energy which supplies clean electricity to the load center in eastern part of the PRC and for developing solar PV related supply chain industry, utilizing more than 20GW solar power resource potential and rich silica resources in the province.
Qinghai province launched large scale grid connected solar PV development program in 2009. However, limited access to advanced technology solutions, lack of personnel experience in grid connected solar PV system design, limited incentive measures to expand large scale solar PV plant investment, has led to slower development of the solar power. The proposed TA aims at enhancing capacity on grid-connected solar PV system development in Qinghai, by (i) building solid planning, design, and management methodologies, (ii) introducing applicable advanced technologies (power conditioner technology including inverter and energy storage), (iii) providing technical guidance for 10 MW class pilot grid connected solar PV system design, and (iv) identifying cost barriers and mitigation measures.