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Future scenarios of variable renewable energies and flexibility requirements for thermal power plants in China

  • Ye, Liang-Cheng (author)
  • Lin, H.X. (author)
  • Tukker, Arnold (author)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/
TU Delft Repository
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<p>In 2017 about 37% of the world's wind turbines and 50% of the world's photovoltaic (PV) panels are installed in China. But at the same time a huge amount of wind power and PV power is wasted mainly because of insufficient flexibility of thermal power which is the dominant source in China's electricity system. This paper aims to assess the flexibility requirements for thermal power plants to accommodate large-scale variable renewable energies (VREs). This paper constructs three scenarios for the reference year of 2030, where VREs account for 16%, 19% and 22% in the electricity system respectively, and simulates corresponding residual load time series (residual load = load − hydropower − nuclear power − wind power − PV power). We find that the current average 1%/min ramp rate of thermal power plants is basically sufficient to deal with ramps in residual load in the future. But the current average 60% minimum load level of thermal power plants has to be improved to 40% or even 30%, otherwise the economic losses of VREs curtailment will be as high as 947.2×10<sup>8</sup> – 1632.0×10<sup>8</sup> CNY per year in the future. It is necessary and beneficial for the central authority to invest in retrofitting the existing huge thermal power plants to improve their minimum load level.</p> / Accepted Author Manuscript / Mathematical Physics

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