Modeling China’s Electricity Futures

Developing an affordable, reliable, and clean energy system in China

Modeling China’s Electricity Futures

Resource-Integrated Long-term Optimal Planning of China’s Electric System

To develop frameworks and tools for planning the Chinese electric system from a big data approach. This research will take “electrical demand” scenarios as key inputs to a long-term Integrated Resource Planning Modeling Framework for the electricity sector in China and consider the uncertainties, path dependencies, supply resources, and the characteristics of different geographic regions affecting economic and environmental outcomes. This requires understanding the characteristics of the electric generation resources, the potential for new additions and the relevant policies affecting China’s electric power sector.

Structure

Projecting China’s Electricity Demand

To develop a bottom-up framework for characterizing possible futures of China’s electricity demand at a high temporal and spatial resolution that considers the uncertainties about demand-side technologies and policies.

China is in a rapid progress of industrialization, urbanization and electrification, driving its electric power demand growing at an alarming rate. The roaring growth of electricity consumption highlights the tremendous challenges this country faces developing a strategy for a power sector that can meet its electricity needs sustainably and reliably.

Given that the reliability of the electric power system depends on a perfect balance of demand and supply at different time scales, a sine qua non for the robust planning of capacity to generate, transmit and distribute electrical power is a rigorous characterization of future electricity demand and its temporal load shape.

Developing an Affordable, Reliable, and Clean Energy System in China

Meeting electricity demand often requires irreversible investments in expensive and long-term infrastructure that takes years to design and implement, and which acts as a constraint on future choices. Therefore, the decisions made today about China’s electric power system will have profound and long-lasting implications not only for the economic and social well-being of the Chinese residents but will also affect the affordability and availability of energy resources worldwide, and the state of our natural environment.

However, planning decisions about China’s electricity system towards energy transition are difficult to make. Various energy resources and technological options such as fossil-fuel energy with Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), nuclear, hydro, and emerging energy resources (solar, wind, and energy storage) with different economic-social-environmental implications, coupled with uncertainties about their future cost and performance attribute to ongoing rapid technological changes, make power capacity planning a very challenging task. Also, uncertainties about future electricity demand, compounded with the key demand-side alternatives such as end-use energy efficiency (EE) and demand-side management (DSM), all add additional complexity to this system.

We seek to increase understanding and develop solutions along three major pathways:

  • Characterize possible futures for China’s electricity demand at a high temporal and spatial resolution
  • Devise effective strategies for emerging energy transition by developing long-term Integrated Resource Planning Modeling Framework
  • Assess major energy and environmental policies and practices

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