Breakthroughs made in global energy interconnection development

Updated 2018-03-28 22:48:01 Xinhua

Breakthroughs have been made in global energy interconnection (GEI) technology and equipment, according to an official at a global energy organization Wednesday.

Liu Zhenya, chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), said the conditions for accelerating GEI development had been created, after the completion of the top-level design for GEI.

The GEIDCO has conducted in-depth studies on the economic and social development, energy resources, electricity supply and demand of over 100 countries and proposed a plan for the GEI Backbone Grid.

Supported by EHV/UHV transmission, flexible DC transmission, submarine cables, and other advanced technologies, the GEI Backbone Grid is a cluster of strategic channels that connects major large-scale clean energy bases and load centers over the whole world.

The construction of the GEI Backbone Grid will be in three stages, creating an "energy artery" that connects five continents with "nine horizontal and nine vertical" grids.

From 2018 to 2050, total investment in GEI is estimated to be about 38 trillion U.S. dollars, about 27 trillion dollars of which in power generation, and 11 trillion dollars in power grids.

Studies have shown that by 2050, about 177,000 kilometers of new transmission line will be added to the backbone grids.

Massive exploitation and use of fossil fuels have brought about severe challenges to sustainable development such as resource constraints, environment pollution, climate change and population without access to electricity.

"Clean development, ecological conservation and adjustment of energy consumption structure are fundamental solutions to the problems," said Li Yizhong, former minister for industry and information technology, at the ongoing 2018 GEI Conference in Beijing.

Take the 1100 kV UHV DC project between Kazakhstan and Germany for example: the total length of the route is 4,200 kilometers, which transmits solar power from Kazakhstan to Germany, creating a price difference of 1-2 U.S. cents per kWh compared to electricity generated by the North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Liu proposed that consensus between governments, companies and all sectors of society should be built to synergize GEI with the Paris Agreement, the Belt and Road Initiative and regional development strategies.

He said efforts should be made to speed up breakthroughs in key technologies and equipment such as UHV large-capacity submarine cables, UHV VSC-HVDC and high-efficient clean power generation technologies.

The studies estimated that by 2050, clean energy will generate more than 81 percent of the total amount of electricity globally, add 0.2 percent annual growth to the world economy, lower the cost of electricity by 2.8 U.S. cents per kWh compared to the current price, and create a total of over 100 million jobs.

The 2018 GEI Conference, themed "GEI from China's Initiative to Global Action", is being held from March 28 to 29 in Beijing. Over 800 participants from more than 30 countries and regions have gathered here to discuss the development of GEI.

As the world's biggest energy consumer and fastest growing non-fossil fuel market, China is pushing for GEI. The plan, proposed nearly two years ago, is expected to contribute to the revival of ancient trade routes.

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