The Chinese government has finally acted to address the long pending issue of lack of transmission infrastructure in remote regions of the country.
The National Development and Reform Commission has mandated grid companies to purchase electricity from wind and solar power projects so as to let them function a set minimum hours in a year.
The NRDC has ordered that enough power from wind energy projects be procured so as to allow them to function for at least 1,800 hours in a year. The figure for solar power projects is at least 1,300 hours.
The mandatory procurement shall be applicable across 11 provinces including Xianjing and Gansu.
Lack of transmission lines in the remote provinces that are rich in wind and solar power resources has been a long standing issue in China. Last year, about 15% of the wind energy turbines in the country sat idle due to lack of grid availability.
Clearly, the rate of growth in transmission infrastructure is much lower than the rate of growth of renewable energy capacity. In 2015, China added record 32.5 GW wind energy capacity and a record 18.3 GW solar power capacity. Wind energy sector posted 74% year-on-year increase in capacity while solar power sector posted a rise of 34%.