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Statistics: Utilization Hours for First Three Quarters of 2016 Published by the NEA
National Utilization Hours for First Three Quarters of 2016
(Source: Azure International)
The top two provinces for wind utilization hours are southwestern provinces, with Yunnan at 1,712 hrs and Sichuan at 1,643 hrs. In the same time, Gansu, Xinjiang and Jilin utilization hours remain low, at 870, 946, 951, respectively. With regards to thermal generation, an average of 3,071 hrs is the lowest level since 2005. (NEA CN)
Wind: First Three Quarters On-Grid Wind Data Published by the NEA
The NEA published wind operations data from January to the end of September 2016. Ten GW of wind power came online during this period and wind power sent to the grid reached 169.3 TWh. The average utilization hours was 1,251, representing a decrease of 66 hours, or 5% from the same period in 2015. Wind curtailment was 39.5 TWh for an average curtailment rate of 19%. (NEA CN)
In line with Azure's previous coverage of renewable curtailment in China, wind curtailment covered in this period is heaviest in Xinjiang (41%), Gansu (46%), IMAR (23%) and Jilin (34%). These provinces have historically been suffering from the highest curtailment rates in China, as local power consumption is relatively low while installed wind capacity is high. Xinjiang and Gansu have taken numerous measures to alleviate this issue, with Xinjiang investing 180 million RMB in wind-to-heat projects, while Gansu recently completed a ±800kV UHV DC transmission line that should help send renewable power reach demand centers in Hunan province
13th Five Year Plan: National Electric Power Sector Development Plan Released by the NEA
On November 7th, the long-awaited Electric Power Sector Development Plan of the 13th Five Year Plan was released by the NEA. Although further details are slated for release at a later date, key takeaways from this release include:
Along with renewable capacity expansion, the development plan includes concrete benchmarks for mitigating renewable curtailment, with the NEA calling for renewable curtailment to be limited to a "reasonable level" of 5%. National curtailment levels for wind and solar in 2015 were 15% and 13%, respectively. The plan also calls for implementing power trading spot market trials by the end of 2018, and a national rollout of spot markets by 2020.
Solar: CNBM International Purchases Ukrainian Solar Farm Operator Neptune Solar LLC
CNBM International Corp of China recently completed a 100% purchase of Ukrainian Solar farm operator Neptune Solar LLC. Neptune Solar has a photovoltaic (PV) park in Mykolaiv region with a capacity of 29.3 MW operational since 2013. The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine has already approved the deal with CNBM, and CNBM is said to be interested in other solar assets in Ukraine as well.(SEE)
We expected overseas acquisitions to continue as domestic PV projects face lower tariffs and stiff solar curtailment. The national curtailment rate for 2015 was 13%, however, provinces with higher solar penetration such as Gansu and Xinjiang have been experiencing curtailment rates as high as 32% and 33%.
(Ukrainian Solar Farm, Source: SEE)
Marketization: Power Trading Finishes for the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan Regional Power Exchange
The recently opened Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan Exchange completed its trading for 2016 after it reached its target trade volume of 6.1 TWh. Many independent observers expressed disappointment with the performance of the exchange, mainly that each region traded largely within their administrative boundaries, rather than cross-regionally. Approximately 60% and 77% of power purchased in Tianjin and Tangshan, amounting to 900 GWh and 1.7 TWh, respectively, was generated from within their administrative areas. (BJX CN)
This stated dissatisfaction with the interregional direct trading platform presents an obstacle to further Jing-Jin-Ji power integration. The trading center was only stipulated to run in 2016 and no further plans have been published for the continuation of the exchange in the future.
Statistic: Newly Installed PV Capacity for the First Three Quarters of 2016 Reaches 26 GW
The China Renewable Energy Society recently announced that new PV installations in China reached 26 GW in the first three quarters of 2016. According to the announcement by Vice President Meng Xian'gan, China is on track to install a total of 30 GW of solar energy for 2016, even though the annual target is only 18.1 GW. (BJX CN)
The new installment figures this year are especially high due to the rush of PV companies to build before the June 30th tariff cut. However, a glut of PV projects could cause pipeline delays and loss of subsidies, as well as exacerbate a germinating solar curtailment issue. National curtailment rate for 2015 was 13%, however, some provinces such as Gansu and Xinjiang have been experiencing curtailment rates of 32% and 33%.
Policy: Draft of Inter-provincial Renewable Energy Incremental Spot Market Regulations Published by NEA
The NEA recently published regulations concerning the establishment of an interprovincial renewable energy spot market. Market participants will be able to trade power from renewable energy sources on a day-ahead and inter-day time scale only after having already signed long or medium term power contracts and only if renewable energy producers are forecasted to encounter curtailment.Market participants may enter into the incremental spot market only after these preconditions are met. (BJX CN)
This represents the strongest signal yet of establishing a fully functioning spot market trading mechanism, an indicator of true marketization of the power sector. However, attaching participation in the spot market with signing a long term power purchase contract may present an obstacle to renewable generators looking to participate.
Statistic: Wind Investment for First Three Quarters of 2016 Falls 29%
According to a recent China Electricity Council Report on China's Electricity Demand for the first three quarters of 2016, while total installment figures of grid-connected wind capacity reached 140 GW, wind power investment dropped by a total of 29%. (CEC CN)
Heavy curtailment and decreasing utilization hours for wind is becoming evident in dampening investor enthusiasm. National wind utilization hours declined overall by 5% from last year to 1251 hours for the same period. However certain provinces have seen large reductions in operating hours, with Xinjiang seeing a decrease of 29% to 946 hours, Ningxia falling 25% to 1064 hours and Gansu decreasing 9% to 870 hours.
Policy: New On-Grid Tariff Adjustments for Distributed and Utility Scale Solar, Onshore and Offshore Wind
The NDRC recently issued new on-grid tariffs for wind and solar power. Onshore wind tariffs were reduced by 5% to 13%, while solar utility tariffs were reduced by 24% to 31%. The new feed-in tariffs now include differentiation between intertidal and offshore wind. Intertidal tariffs are set at 0.7 RMB/KWh and offshore are set at 0.8 RMB/KWh. (BJX CN)
(Table of New On-Grid Tariffs for Renewables)
(Unit RMB/KWh) (Source: Azure)
While a reduction in the feed-in tariff for renewables was expected, the nearly one-third cut for utility-scale solar projects means this reduction will likely lead to further consolidation in the local PV markets. Azure consulting may be able to help navigate the pricing policy landscape in China.