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The Flexible Operation of Coal Power and Its Renewable Integration Potential in China

1
School of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
2
School of Economics and Management, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China
3
Eco-tech Research Institute, State Grid Ningxia Electric Power Co., Ltd., Yinchuan 750004, China
4
Ningxia Jingneng Ningdong Electric Power Co., Ltd., Yinchuan 750409, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164424 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 July 2019 / Revised: 13 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
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Abstract

At present time, China’s power systems face significant challenges in integrating large-scale renewable energy and reducing the curtailed renewable energy. In order to avoid the curtailment of renewable energy, the power systems need significant flexibility requirements in China. In regions where coal is still heavily relied upon for generating electricity, the flexible operations of coal power units will be the most feasible option to face these challenges. The study first focused on the reasons why the flexible operation of existing coal power units would potentially promote the integration of renewable energy in China and then reviewed the impacts on the performance levels of the units. A simple flexibility operation model was constructed to estimate the integration potential with the existing coal power units under several different scenarios. This study’s simulation results revealed that the existing retrofitted coal power units could provide flexibility in the promotion of the integration of renewable energy in a certain extent. However, the integration potential increment of 20% of the rated power for the coal power units was found to be lower than that of 30% of the rated power. Therefore, by considering the performance impacts of the coal power units with low performances in load operations, it was considered to not be economical for those units to operate at lower than 30% of the rated power. It was believed that once the capacity share of the renewable energy had achieved a continuously growing trend, the existing coal power units would fail to meet the flexibility requirements. Therefore, it was recommended in this study that other flexible resources should be deployed in the power systems for the purpose of reducing the curtailment of renewable energy. Furthermore, based on this study’s obtained evidence, in order to realize a power system with high proportions of renewable energy, China should strive to establish a power system with adequate flexible resources in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: coal power; flexible operation; renewable energy; integration potential; China coal power; flexible operation; renewable energy; integration potential; China
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Na, C.; Pan, H.; Zhu, Y.; Yuan, J.; Ding, L.; Yu, J. The Flexible Operation of Coal Power and Its Renewable Integration Potential in China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4424.

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