Promoting the development of energy storage technology The new energy era will accelerate
Every major transformation of the world economy is closely linked with energy change. In recent years, the development of new energy based on wind power and solar power has been developing strongly. The development and utilization of energy based on fossil energy is facing challenges. A historic energy revolution is gestating on a global scale. Unlike the previous two energy revolutions in human history, China has the ability to become the main promoter of this round of energy revolution.
The characteristics of the new energy revolution
There have been two major energy transitions in human history. Once in the late 18th century to the 19th century, the invention of the steam engine and the large-scale use of coal were the main symbols. From the era of firewood, mankind entered the era of coal. The second occurrence occurred in the 1970s and the beginning of the 20th century. It was marked by the invention and use of generators, internal combustion engines, etc. The share of oil and natural gas in the primary energy consumption structure exceeded that of coal, and became the main source of human production and life. energy. During this period, electricity as a clean, convenient secondary energy source changed the way people use energy.
The two energy revolutions have greatly promoted the development of the world economy and the progress of human society. However, due to the fact that they all consume fossil fuels, resource reserves have continued to decline, mining and consumption have caused damage to the ecological environment, and large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions have also affected the global climate.
In the 21st century, with the advancement of human technological progress and environmental protection awareness, the development of new energy, mainly wind power and solar energy, has received increasing attention. In 2015, the world’s newly installed capacity for renewable energy power generation surpassed conventional energy power generation capacity for the first time. 173 countries around the world have set their own new energy development goals, and the proportion of new energy in total energy consumption is rising.
The EU plans to reach a non-fossil energy share of 75% of energy consumption by 2050. Countries such as Sweden clearly stated that by 2040, 100% of electricity consumption will come from renewable energy sources. The Chinese government also clearly stated that by 2030, non-fossil energy will account for 50% of all power generation. From the current situation, there is hope that this goal can be achieved in advance.
The new round of energy revolution presents three main characteristics. The first is green, low-carbon, and wind power makes people more harmonious and natural. Second, there is no risk of resource depletion. Compared with coal, oil, and natural gas, wind power and solar energy are inexhaustible and inexhaustible.
In 2016, the global terminal energy consumption can be converted to 112.81 trillion kWh, while the global wind energy resources can generate 1,640 trillion kWh per year in terms of 1,000 hours of utilization. Onshore (except Antarctica), the solar energy resources can generate 3,195 trillion in terms of 500 hours. Above.
The third is the decline in energy prices. In the previous two energy revolutions, the price of alternative energy has risen. In the new round of energy transition, the marginal cost of new energy, which is dominated by wind and light, has approached zero, and as the technological progress and scale brings about a continuous decline in unit cost, it will not take long for new energy to The use price will be lower than the price of traditional fossil energy.
The strategic path of the energy revolution
The existing world energy system, from industrial policies, pricing and management mechanisms, is mainly designed around the production and consumption of traditional fossil energy. In light of the current status of development and utilization of new energy and continuous breakthroughs in technology, we have proposed the development model of “New Energy + UHV + Energy Storage” from the perspective of energy strategic planning as the main route to promote a new round of energy change.
First, increase the development of new energy
In recent years, the technological progress of wind and photovoltaic power generation has been rapid. The power of the individual fan has been continuously increased. Fans adapted to low wind speed have been promoted and applied, and the conversion efficiency of solar cells and modules has continued to improve. At the same time, the cost of power generation for new energy is also rapidly falling. The price of wind power equipment and PV modules has fallen by more than 20% and 60% respectively in the past five years. The price of long-term power purchase agreements in the United States has reached the same level as that of fossil energy, and the new energy sources in Germany have basically achieved parity with traditional energy sources. The price of new energy in some regions of China is already equivalent to that of coal-fired power. It is estimated that by 2030, the cost of photovoltaic power generation can reach 0.2 yuan/kWh, and wind power can reach 0.22 yuan/kWh (see chart 1).
The development of new energy should be combined with centralized and decentralized. In areas with dense population and limited land resources, small-scale and decentralized development can be carried out. However, many of the world's wind and light resources with superior development conditions are often concentrated in deserts, high altitudes, and sparsely populated areas, and are suitable for large-scale centralized development. Such as solar energy in North Africa and West Asia, wind energy in the Arctic Circle.
China's resource endowments also determine that new energy should be focused on large-scale centralized development. The utilization hours of wind power in Gansu and Inner Mongolia can reach more than 3,000. The photovoltaic utilization hours in Tibet and Qinghai exceed 2000, which is higher than that in the eastern and central regions of 500-1000 hours. It is suitable for the construction of new energy bases with a capacity of 10 million kilowatts.
Compared with the small-scale, decentralized new energy development model, large-scale base-type development can achieve economies of scale by implementing unified planning, unified construction, and unified operations. At the same time, wind and light can be used between different wind farms and between eastern and western regions. The complementarity of power generation enables the optimal allocation of resources and the efficient use of resources within a wider range, effectively reducing development and operating costs, thereby reducing the on-grid tariff and accelerating the process of retreating new energy subsidies.
Taking the Chifeng area in Inner Mongolia as an example, we estimate that by 2020, on-grid tariffs for wind power could reach around 0.35 yuan/kWh and be sent to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. No subsidy is required to compete with local thermal power generation units on the same net.
Second, play the advantages of UHV transmission
In many parts of the world, energy resources and energy consumption centers tend to be in reverse distribution. The characteristics of large-capacity and long-distance transmission (>1000 km) of UHV technology can effectively solve the problem of new energy away from the load center, and it also makes large-scale base-type development possible.
As of the end of 2016, 13 UHV transmission lines have been put into operation in China and 9 lines are under construction. The new energy in the northwest region will be sent to the central and eastern regions through UHV. On the one hand, it will increase the proportion of clean energy and help solve the environmental pollution and smog problems in the central and eastern regions. At the same time, it will also transform the western region’s vast desert into a “destructive” Baodi."
Long-distance transmission does not push up electricity prices, because the same number of hours of utilization of power generation equipment can be more than 500 hours higher in the west than in the east due to differences in wind and light resources, and this portion of power generation revenue can cover the transmission cost of UHV lines. .
UHV transmission technology is an important part of the global energy Internet. By using UHV to strengthen the interconnection of the power grid and improve the flexibility of the power system, significant comprehensive benefits can be achieved in the adjustment of the peak load of the power system, the reduction of spare capacity, the optimization of energy resource allocation, and the promotion of new energy development.
Third, promote the development of energy storage technology
The power system has always been developed, supplied and used at the same time. Due to the change of wind power and the alternation of day and night, wind power and solar power generation are characterized by remarkable randomness, intermittentity, and volatility, resulting in a relatively fixed power demand for the user and it is difficult to match. Therefore, people hope to find a way to store electric energy, that is, to store electric power when it is surplus, and release it when the electric power is short, in order to meet the need for real-time balance between supply and demand.
Without energy storage technology, it is difficult for new energy sources to meet the load demands of users, and resources cannot be fully utilized. It can be said that the breakthrough and popularization of energy storage technology will enable energy distribution across time and space, and it will have revolutionary significance for the production and consumption of energy.
Energy storage includes electricity storage, heat storage, and hydrogen storage. Electricity storage mainly includes physical, chemical and electromagnetic methods. In recent years, energy storage has demonstrated broad application prospects in the field of power peak shaving, distributed generation, and microgrid. The United States and Germany have formed more mature business models. China has also conducted R&D demonstrations in areas such as distributed photovoltaics, power demand side management, power assisted service markets, and power generation peaking, and has initially established a foundation for industrialization. Business models under different scenarios are also actively exploring.
At present, the most widely used is the physical energy storage method of pumped storage, and the progress of chemical energy storage technologies such as lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries is also rapidly progressing. However, from the standpoint of not being constrained by natural conditions and environmental protection, hydrogen storage is more advantageous.
Hydrogen is considered as an ideal energy carrier for the future low-carbon society because of its renewable, storable, and non-polluting properties. In the field of power generation, the use of wind energy, solar energy to produce hydrogen through electrolysis of water, use of fuel cells to generate electricity or cogeneration, can stabilize the intermittent nature and volatility of new energy sources, help the grid to peak load, and reduce abandon the wind. In addition, hydrogen can be widely used in transportation and home through fuel cells.
In Japan, for example, more than 100 hydrogen refueling stations have been built and 200,000 hydrogen hydrogen cogeneration systems have been installed. It is planned to launch hydrogen-powered 6,000 buses and 50,000 family cars before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. . Although China started to develop hydrogen energy relatively late, the research of electrolysis hydrogen production technology and equipment has reached the international advanced level. Many places have demonstrated the application of hydrogen vehicles, and the industry has shown a trend of rapid development.
Although the current price of energy storage products is still relatively high, but with the advancement of technology, the improvement of the entire industrial chain and the continuous expansion of the application scale, the cost of its use will surely drop significantly. For example, Japan has made great progress in hydrogen fuel cell technology recently. The cost has dropped to around US$1,000/kW, and the economic viability is gradually emerging. It can be predicted that in the next five to ten years, the energy storage industry will usher in a period of rapid development.
According to the assumption, when the proportion of new energy transmission is relatively low (less than 30%), the existing thermal power unit can be used to adjust the peak and eliminate it. After five to eight years, the proportion of new energy transmission will increase, and energy storage technology will play a major role in peaking.
The new era of energy
Looking into the future, an energy system based on new energy will greatly reduce or even eliminate people’s dependence on fossil fuels. The overall energy efficiency of the world will increase significantly, energy supply will be more secure and reliable, energy prices will be lower, and the ecological environment Deterioration and climate warming will be effectively curbed. While promoting the sustainable development of the world economy, it will also help eliminate poverty and achieve fair energy consumption.
The widespread use of energy storage products will improve the overall operational efficiency of the power system. The planning and design of traditional power systems leave a lot of spare space from the perspective of safety and reliability. Some equipment is inefficiently operated and even idle, and there is a lot of waste. The energy storage technology reduces the system redundancy and backup by improving the coordination of all aspects of transmission, supply, and utilization, and improves the utilization of power system equipment. At the same time, the period of upgrades and upgrades will be extended to reduce investment and electricity prices.
The energy revolution will bring human life into a new era of electrification. On the one hand, the wind and solar power production methods are simpler, and there is no need to convert thermal energy into mechanical energy through complicated processes such as high temperature, high pressure steam and magnetic fields, and then convert it into electrical energy. Large amounts of combustion and rotating equipment will be replaced.
On the other hand, in the transportation sector, which accounts for about 70% of oil consumption, hydrogen and batteries will replace the internal combustion engine as power, and the vehicle core design will be fully electrified. The construction is simple and easy to maintain. All the technologies and design techniques related to the internal combustion engine are no need. Germany has planned to stop selling fuel vehicles by 2030. The supply of clean and cheap new energy will undoubtedly increase the proportion of electricity in energy consumption.
The new round of energy revolution will also promote the development of other industries, such as desalination. At present, more than half of the countries and regions in the world are faced with the problem of shortage of fresh water resources, and nearly 80% of the population is threatened by water shortages. Desalination is the main way to solve the water shortage problem. However, because it is a high-energy-consuming industry, the current production costs are still relatively high and cannot be widely applied. When the price of new energy is sufficiently low, coupled with technological progress, the current price per cubic meter of desalinated water will be reduced to be equal to the use of groundwater or surface water, and even lower, the seawater can be used on a large scale.
At that time, not only could we solve the global water shortage problem, but we could also transport desalinated water from the coast to drought and desert areas through pipelines to realize the dream of desertification and change the oasis, and to repair the Earth’s homes that were severely damaged.
The new era of the energy revolution is cherishing hopes for humanity, but the changes will not happen overnight. We need to advance from the height of civilization, work together, and advance.