According to a report by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), unused wind-generated electricity amounted to 2.8 billion kilowatt-hours in the first six months of 2010 due to insufficient transmission capabilities and grid connection.
China needs extensive upgrades to its power grid to take advantage of the wind farms. Its wind-power resources are concentrated primarily in the provinces and regions of Northwest China, such as the Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and Gansu province, while most of the energy consumption is along the heavily populated coastline, according to the 2010 China Wind Power Outlook.
The State Grid, China’s largest power distributor, plans to spend more than 500 billion yuan ($75.86 billion) to upgrade the grid during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). It invested 20 billion yuan in UHV transmission lines from 2006 to 2010.
Large-scale wind-power generation is impossible in the short term due to inconsistency in the wind patterns,” said Jiang Liping, vice-president of the State Grid Energy Research Institution.
“One solution could be to utilize a combination of power sources, including thermal and nuclear power, to increase the flexibility of power generation and regulating systems,” Jiang said.
“To overcome this problem, China is developing a smart-grid system for the long term.”