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What is the new power system? What are the characteristics of the new power system?

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What is the new power system? What are the characteristics of the new power system?

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What is the new power system? The core feature of the new power system lies in the dominance of new energy, which becomes the primary form of energy. According to a report by CICC (China International Capital Corporation), the “dual integration” is a typical characteristic and long-term theme of the new power system, namely “electrification and clean energy(sources from medcom.com.pl).”

Under this trend, the substitution of deterministic and controllable power sources like thermal power by stochastic and volatile power sources such as wind and photovoltaics poses challenges to grid regulation, scheduling, and flexible operation. The widespread application of new energy as the primary source and high-proportion power electronic devices will bring about fundamental changes in the operational characteristics, safety control, and production mode of the power system.

Regarding the understanding of the new power system:

Definition of new energy: The definition of new energy-related technologies has matured, but it has been continuously changing and updating. In summary, new energy is developed and utilized based on new technologies relative to traditional energy sources. For the current electricity industry, photovoltaic power generation and wind power are the most mature and fastest-growing types of power generation globally. Hence, in subsequent discussions, new energy specifically refers to wind and solar energy.

Understanding of new energy as the mainstay: In the construction and development of the new power system, new energy will gradually occupy the positions of electricity generation, output, and responsibility. The primary position of new energy should first be reflected in electricity generation. The amount of new energy electricity directly correlates with carbon emissions reduction. The “dual carbon” goals also make clear demands for the amount and proportion of new energy electricity. New energy electricity’s predominance is the ultimate goal and main driving force of the new power system. New energy will also gradually become the main output entity. It is estimated that by 2060, the cumulative period in which the output of new energy units accounts for more than 50% of the system’s total load will be 46% of the total annual duration, indicating that the output of new energy units can dominate nearly half of the year. New energy must become the responsible entity supporting the new power system. As the main power source, new energy must have the ability to independently support grid voltage and frequency. Currently, in the absence of these capabilities, some countries have imposed restrictions on the proportion of output from new energy units.

The dominance of new energy generation and the responsibility of new energy units to support system operations are two important indicators of the establishment of the new power system.

Characteristics of the new power system:

Multi-energy complementary characteristics break through the bottleneck of new energy development.

The construction and development of the new power system represent a significant transformation in the energy industry, aiming to achieve green and low-carbon objectives. In the new power system, multi-energy complementarity means transitioning from a simple superposition of multiple energy sources on the supply side to a complex, multi-energy flow network that collaborates and optimally configures across large temporal and spatial scales. On the demand side, it transforms into a regional comprehensive energy system that meets diverse electricity, heat, and cooling demands of users.

On the supply side, the optimization configuration of primary energy on a large temporal and spatial scale is crucial. In the multi-energy complementary system of the new power system, the positioning of hydropower generation will shift from being primarily based on electricity generation to mainly capacity support. The next development focus is to enhance the role of pumped storage power stations in peak load and frequency regulation of the power grid and leverage their advantages in accommodating distributed new energy. Considering that large-scale thermal power generation will gradually phase out, and wind and solar energy are more affected by external conditions compared to hydropower, the integrated development of wind, solar, hydro, and storage through hydropower transmission channels is an important measure to address the intermittency and randomness of photovoltaic and wind power generation, promoting the further transformation of energy towards cleanliness and greenness in regions rich in water resources in the southwest.

Photovoltaic power generation is also transitioning into a major source of electricity under the “dual carbon” targets. The deployment of distributed and centralized photovoltaics will significantly increase the electricity load levels and new energy absorption levels in eastern and central regions, with its flexible deployment combining with public buildings such as construction, schools, and hospitals to achieve on-site consumption of green energy.

Similarly, under the background of the “dual carbon” policy, wind power will also enter a stage of accelerated development. With the development of low wind speed turbine technology and the increase in social investment enthusiasm, distributed wind power has become a major trend in the wind power industry. The layout of distributed wind power can overcome land resource scarcity, low wind speeds, and environmental protection constraints, and will be vigorously developed in the central and southeastern regions of China.

The prudent development of fourth-generation nuclear power technology is another key to building a new power system. In the context where wind power, solar power, and other new energy sources are subject to significant meteorological factors and relatively low efficiency, fourth-generation nuclear power technology can serve as a baseload power source instead of thermal power generation, alleviate the instability factors brought by the high proportion of new energy grid connection, and ensure the safe and stable operation of the power grid. Increasing the proportion of nuclear energy in the new power system is of significant and far-reaching importance to ensure the safety and stability of the power grid, and enhance the grid’s capacity to accommodate renewable energy.

Promoting the innovation of thermal power generation technology is also of great significance for the construction of the new power system. As an important part of ensuring grid resilience and reliability, the flexible transformation of thermal power units and the development and application of carbon capture technology are important pathways to achieve the “dual carbon” targets. The combination of coal-fired power generation with carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is an effective measure to recycle greenhouse gases in the industrial production field and has significant implications for promoting the low-carbon transformation and zero-carbon emission goals of the steel and chemical industries.

On the demand side, the comprehensive energy technologies in regional loads with characteristics of multi-energy complementarity, source-grid-load-storage integration can meet the diverse energy demands of local areas, which has practical value in improving the quality of electrical energy and saving user electricity costs.

One of the core features of regional comprehensive energy lies in multi-energy coupling and collaborative complementarity. On one hand, under the framework of the new power system, it integrates and complements various application scenarios such as electricity, gas, heat, cold, and hydrogen, effectively addressing the intermittency and randomness problems brought by wind, solar, and small hydropower access to the grid, significantly improving the reliability and energy utilization efficiency of local regional new energy supply. On the other hand, the deep integration of energy flow and information flow in the new grid will accelerate the transformation of the traditional energy consumption industrial structure from a separated model of generation, transmission, load, and storage to a new green and low-carbon power system where various functions are integrated into one, such as “production, sales, and storage.” The integration of energy supply, consumption, and storage in a multi-energy complementary system promotes the integration of regional energy supply, demand, and storage.

02: Multi-state Fusion Characteristics Create More New Scenarios and Business Models

The multi-state fusion under the new power system implies the coordinated production of source-grid-load-storage integration, and the energy industry’s “production-sales-storage” gradually presents a new trend of distributed, decentralized, and decentralized comprehensive coordinated production. This trend has given rise to new business models suitable for multiple scenarios such as “multi-pole integration” and “multi-station fusion.”

Grid Form: “Main + Micro” Grid Collaboration to Adapt to Primary Energy

In terms of grid form, the grid form of the new power system presents significant characteristics such as the integration and development of ultra-high voltage main grids with microgrids and local area grids, and the coexistence of AC large grids and AC/DC distribution grids. The characteristic of “source follows load, adjusting only centralized power generation” shown by traditional grid dispatch is gradually transforming into “source-grid-load-storage integration” adapted to the new power system. The concept of microgrids has two purposes: first, to achieve nearby consumption of distributed energy, saving investment and operating costs for transmission and transformation; second, to complement the main grid and reduce grid capacity to enhance power supply reliability.

Establishing microgrids can further enhance the power system’s ability to accommodate new energy and promote the long-term development of renewable energy. Compared with the long-distance and large-scale transmission of traditional fossil energy generation modes, microgrids can further coordinate the relationship between energy producers and consumers, timely guide the efficient consumption of new energy on-site, achieve multi-energy complementation for load supply, and improve the utilization efficiency of new energy electricity.

On the other hand, microgrids can improve the way new energy integrates into the grid, enhance power system reliability, and reduce grid energy transmission losses. Compared with the large-scale centralized grid connection of new energy sources, microgrids can connect new energy electricity to the grid in a decentralized, small-capacity manner, and locally consume it through the power loads in microgrids, thereby addressing the insufficient security of the large grid. The parallel operation of microgrids and the main grid can achieve power balance control within the grid, optimize system operation, fault detection, and power quality management. In emergency conditions, microgrids can provide supply guarantee for important power users, play an important role in enhancing the power system’s earthquake resistance and disaster reduction capabilities, and achieve the optimal allocation of power resources. Meanwhile, microgrids can seamlessly connect with the main grid without power interruption, realize power exchange and resource release at grid connections, and further enhance the stability of the power system’s energy supply.

Industry Form: “Multi-station Integration,” Virtual Power Plant Fusion

“Multi-station integration” is based on the traditional structure of substations, using existing dense substations as basic resources to achieve deep integration of functions such as energy storage stations, data centers, photovoltaic stations, and Beidou ground-based enhancement stations. In the current power system, substations are widely distributed and cover 88% of China’s territory. Substations also have the characteristics of penetrating residential and industrial and commercial electricity environments and can be fully integrated with national production and life. By leveraging the resource value of existing substations and integrating current market and business needs, energy data centers, power storage centers, and information exchange centers can be established to achieve full interaction between energy flow, information flow, and data flow, which is of great significance for promoting grid operations, supporting the development of related industries, and promoting economic development.

A virtual power plant refers to the deep integration of information between new energy generation modules, distributed load modules, and energy storage modules within a wide spatial range, based on the full utilization of communication technology and information collection technology, to achieve comprehensive control and effective utilization of distributed resource production, consumption, and storage. For the operation of the electricity market and its ancillary markets, virtual power plant technology can achieve rapid integration of distributed energy, break through geographical restrictions, and optimize resource allocation and rational use. With the construction of the new power system and the integration of new energy power with significant randomness and volatility into the main grid, virtual power plant technology plays an important role in reducing the scheduling difficulty of distributed power sources and making distribution management more reasonable and orderly.

03: Multi-interactive Characteristics Lead to Further Emergence of Prosumers

Under the new power system, grid loads are gradually diversifying. Electric vehicle services and distributed photovoltaic power generation will further occupy the renewable energy market, enhance users’ regulation capabilities, and promote the coordinated development of grid source-grid-load-storage.

Primary Market: Multi-interactive, Production-Consumption Fusion

Under the “dual carbon” goal, electric vehicles and other distributed energy storage products powered by new energy sources will further occupy the energy market, driving the diversification of loads in the new power system. With the significant volatility and randomness of new energy access affecting the new power system, the flexibility of generation-side regulation is reduced, necessitating the construction of a large number of energy storage facilities. On one hand, the emergence of electric vehicles, charging piles, and distributed photovoltaics provides important opportunities to enhance users’ regulation capabilities and achieve source-grid-load-storage coordination. On the other hand, with the integration of diverse loads and distributed energy storage, energy consumers’ identity has transformed from mere consumers to “prosumers” with bidirectional regulation capabilities. Against the backdrop of energy internet construction, various forms of multi-interaction and production-consumption fusion are emerging, continuously improving the grid’s interaction capability and demand response.

Terminal Market: V2G Services + Distributed Photovoltaics

With the construction of the new power system and the continuous integration of source-grid-load-storage, developing electric vehicle services becomes an important way to promote low-cost, large-scale distributed energy storage construction. The combination of “electric vehicles + charging piles” can effectively regulate electricity loads and promote the consumption of new energy. According to forecasts from relevant national departments, by 2025, the national stock of new energy vehicles can reach 25 million, and the electricity replacement volume can reach 100 billion kWh. The corresponding construction of charging stations and charging piles will also reach 130,000 and 14 million, respectively.

Distributed photovoltaic power generation has the advantages of low generation costs, wide resource distribution, and rich application scenarios, making it an important part of the new power system. China is the world’s largest manufacturer of photovoltaic products and equipment and currently has the world’s largest photovoltaic market. In the new power system, distributed photovoltaic power generation will further increase the proportion of renewable energy in the region and become an important part of future localized smart microgrids.

Formation of Ancillary Markets

The volatility and randomness of renewable energy pose challenges to the stable control and operation of the grid. At the same time, the formation of ancillary markets corresponding to grid peak shaving and frequency regulation plays an important role in regulating grid output and suppressing grid fluctuations caused by renewable energy. Therefore, for safeguarding the new power system dominated by new energy sources, the power ancillary market is strategically significant. It can not only promote the deep integration of renewable energy but also provide corresponding economic compensation for market participants, enhancing social and economic benefits. For the planning and development of future ancillary markets, it is necessary to fully mobilize the enthusiasm of relevant parties to encourage more entities to participate in the power ancillary market. Providing corresponding economic expectations and returns to participants in the ancillary market is also an important way to continuously improve the power ancillary market.

04: The Future Prospects of the Low-Carbon Clean Energy Internet with “Three Diversities” Characteristics(quotes from medcom)

Carbon neutrality and peaking carbon emissions are common goals proposed by all of humanity to address climate change, and they are also national strategies. Building a new power system dominated by new energy sources is one of the most important measures to achieve carbon neutrality and peaking carbon emissions, which can not only accelerate the transformation of the power industry to clean and low-carbon but also fully leverage the emission reduction benefits of other industries’ electrification processes, helping industrial, transportation sectors, and the entire society achieve deep decarbonization. The formation of the new power system is accompanied by systematic restructuring and reform on the power generation side, the load side, and the user side, demonstrating characteristics of “multi-energy complementation, multi-state fusion, and multi-interactive” during the transformation process. On the generation side, a multi-energy complementary power supply system dominated by new energy is taking shape; on the grid side, the “main grid + microgrid” grid form enhances the regional consumption capacity of new energy while improving the stability of the power system, becoming the core of the new power system. At the same time, the digital grid provides strong support for grid-source-load-storage coordination and interaction. On the load side, diversified grid loads promote the initial construction of a comprehensive energy consumption system with electricity as its core. In the future, the construction of the new power system should ensure energy and power security as the basic premise, prioritize meeting the power demand for economic and social development, use a robust smart grid as the hub platform, rely on source-grid-load-storage interaction and multi-energy complementation for support, build a low-carbon clean energy internet, and achieve the “dual carbon” goals.

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