China Ramps Up Renewable Energy Targets
China is leading the world in just about everything these days, and renewable energy is no exception. The country intends to one up itself over the next five years in installed renewable energy capacity. With the release of China’s 12th Five Year Plan for Renewable Energy Development, the country highlights new higher targets for installed renewable capacity.
China is looking to renewables to provide 9.5 percent of its energy needs by 2015 according to the Plan. In 2009, the country’s investment in renewable energy reached $35 billion, and by 2010 China had surpassed the United States in installed renewable energy capacity.
The Plan seeks to expand wind power throughout China from 13.9 GW to 100 GW. However, the country already has more wind farms than transmission capacity, so investment in power lines will have to expand as well to reach such an audacious goal. This is especially true considering that the bulk of China’s power generation comes from the west, while the majority of its population resides in the east and south.
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Hydroelectric power will increase from 210 GW to 290 GW. The country, for the first time, also set targets for geothermal, tidal and ocean energies.
China currently has 700 MW of installed solar power, and is looking to reach 10 GW come 2015. Looking to 2020, the country plans to have 50 GW installed. China is encouraging smaller-scale distributed solar projects to be developed in more populated regions. This supports the entrance of small and medium businesses into the solar power market, since the large state-owned enterprises tend to shy away from small-scale projects.
Last month China announced plans to introduce a national solar feed-in tariff. Analysts expect the decision to make China not only the world’s top manufacturer of solar panels, but also the top buyer.
ScottishPower submits plans for UK's largest electrolyser
ScottishPower has submitted a planning application to deliver the UK’s largest electrolyser which will be the key component of a green hydrogen facility located close to its Whitelee windfarm.
Alongside the 20MW electrolyser, the application also includes proposals for a combined solar and battery energy storage scheme - up to 40MW and 50MW respectively - to power the electrolyser. They will be installed about 5km west of Lochgoin Reservoir and next to the existing Whitelee Extension substation.
The submission marks an important step for Green Hydrogen for Scotland, a partnership between ScottishPower, BOC and ITM Power, to create green hydrogen production facilities with clusters of refuelling stations across Scotland.
The proposed green hydrogen project will be engineered and operated by BOC, using wind and solar power produced by ScottishPower Renewables, and the electrolyser will be delivered by ITM Power. The project aims to supply hydrogen to the commercial market before 2023.
Green Hydrogen for Glasgow aims to provide carbon-free transport and clean air for communities across Glasgow as well as helping support industrial hydrogen demand in the region. The city, set to host the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference, COP26, later this year, aims to become the first net zero city in the UK by 2030.
Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen Director, said: “With all eyes set to be on Glasgow later this year as the city hosts the UN’s 26th climate change conference, COP26, it’s fantastic to be making this next important step towards delivering green hydrogen for Glasgow.
“Whitelee keeps breaking barriers, first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals.”
He added green hydrogen has a vital role to play in Scotland and the wider UK’s journey to Net Zero emissions, providing a sustainable energy source that can provide clean, renewable energy for industries, heavy transport and companies for future decades.
Green hydrogen is a zero carbon energy source which can be used by industries and companies that cannot fully electrify their operations to help them lower their emissions, for example, heavy duty transport like buses and bin lorries.
The technology gets its name from the green power source, normally wind or solar, used to power an electrolyser to split water into its core elements; hydrogen and oxygen gas. The hydrogen can then be stored and transported for use as needed.
The green hydrogen facility at Whitelee, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, will house a 20MW electrolyser and would be able to produce up to 8 tonnes of green hydrogen per day, roughly equivalent to fuelling over 550 buses to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again each day.
Graham Cooley, CEO ITM Power, said it marks an exciting milestone based on market development for green hydrogen for the city of Glasgow, that will see the UK’s largest electrolyser deployment to date being realised in Scotland.
Mark Griffin, Hydrogen Market Development Manager for Clean Fuels at BOC said: “The scale of this project demonstrates the growing demand for clean hydrogen and as a member of the Green Hydrogen for Scotland partnership, we’re delighted to bring our hydrogen mobility and refuelling project expertise to help deliver a ground-breaking facility in Glasgow.”
The hydrogen production facility could support Glasgow City Council as well as surrounding local authorities and industries in their ambitions to create a zero emissions vehicle fleet, using only electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by the end of 2029.
ScottishPower expects a decision on the planning application in autumn.
The UK recently announced a £3 million investment to develop the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub (click here).