What are the challenges China is facing for its energy development to serve its growing demand?
It is estimated that China needs 2035 9.594 TWh of electric power to serve its citizens and industries. Research has already shown that China is exploring the use of renewable energies. We will show what is possible in China and what the country is currently planning.
The distribution of the Chinese energy sources in 2009 is illustrated the figure below:
The share of renewable energies was quite low in 2009, but most likely because the industry had only been established between 2005 and 2009, beginning with the installation of wind energy.
The problem is that the regions that are most advantageously located to benefit from renewable energies are not the regions with the highest energy demands. The onshore wind study in the following figure illustrates this:
The situation is also true for hydropower. Most of China’s water comes from the Tibetan mountains. The best way to get hydropower from the mountains to the urban areas is to invest in a grid; however, there is not a single national grid provider in all of China.
As the image above shows, the existing grids in China are strictly regional and need to be connected. The biggest task will be to connect the western grids, where the energy can be produced efficiently, with the eastern grids.
There are currently several projects underway to overcome this issue.
The last area, which is an issue to be solved, is the grid management and, as additional renewable energies emerge, the need for energy storage will arise. Efforts to solve these issues are also underway, but it will take time to implement this technology.
With these actions and a clear energy saving policy, China is on its way to integrating renewable energy into its system, as illustrated in this final figure: