The role of hydro power, storage and transmission in the decarbonization of the Chinese power system

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Deep decarbonization of the electricity sector can be provided by a high penetration of renewable sources such as wind, solar PV and hydro power. Flexibility from hydro and storage complements the high temporal variability of wind and solar, and transmission infrastructure helps the power balancing by moving electricity in the spatial dimension. We study cost-optimal highly-renewable Chinese power systems under ambitious CO 2 emission reduction targets, by deploying a 31-node hourly-resolved techno-economic optimization model supported by a validated weather-converted 38-year-long renewable power generation and electricity demand dataset. With a new realistic reservoir hydro model, we find that if CO 2 emission reduction goes beyond 70%, storage facilities such as hydro, battery and hydrogen become necessary for a moderate system cost. Numerical results show that these flexibility components can lower renewable curtailment by two thirds, allow higher solar PV share by a factor of two and contribute to covering summer cooling demand. We show that expanding unidirectional high-voltage DC lines on top of the regional inter-connections is technically sufficient and more economical than ultra-high-voltage-AC-connected “One-Net” grid. Finally, constraining transmission volume from the optimum by up to 25% does not push total costs much higher, while the significant need for battery storage remains even with abundant interconnectivity.

TidsskriftApplied Energy
Sider (fra-til)1308-1321
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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