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China’s Highest Storage Ratio Solar Thermal Project

The project not only represents 100% inexhaustible energy,  meaning renewable and free, but as it is solar energy, is a non-toxic non-fossil fuel source. Knowing all its advantages, China is building another solar thermal project. With the highest storage ratio in the country, this could be the Asian country’s most ambitious energy source project yet.

State-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp began constructing its 2 million kilowatts solar thermal storage integrated project in Delingha, Qinghai province. The province is in Northern China while the city is divided by the Bayin River into two parts. It is to date the solar thermal storage integrated project with the highest energy storage ratio in the country, the company said. Energy storage is key to an efficient distribution of power all throughout. With stored energy, the thermal project can fill the need for greater power even when the demand peaks.

The project has great prospects. It has an energy storage ratio of 25% cent and can store energy for six hours, it said. With a total installed capacity of 2 million kW, including 1.6 million kW of solar and 400,000 kW of photothermal salt storage capacity, it certainly means tons of power available. After the project is put into operation, annual power connected to the grid is expected to reach 3.65 billion kilowatt-hours, it said.

To note, the company’s Delingha 50 megawatt solar thermal power plant in Qinghai, which is also China’s first large commercial parabolic-trough concentrated solar power plant, was put into operation in 2018. The operation of the solar power facility makes China the eighth country to have a large solar thermal power station. It is also a milestone for the company’s solar-thermal energy development after more than 10 years of development.

In 2011, China made headlines when it put into operation the Huanghe Hydropower Golmud Solar Park. Then, the Asian country owned the largest solar power plant in the world at the time with a photovoltaic capacity of 200 MW. Again, in 2018, a new record was set by China with the Tengger Desert Solar Park carrying a photovoltaic capacity of 1.5 GW.

Indeed, as it expands its economy buoyed by its highly-spirited digital transformation, China’s need for power also grows by leaps and bounds. This is customary as the world gravitates towards greater digital adoption.

According to the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based industry body to minimise disruptions in the world’s energy supply,  it is estimated that data centres gobble up at least 1% of total global electricity. That’s just for starters. By 2025, data centres are predicted to consume at least 1/5 of the world’s total power supply. The majority of these energy demands come from powering the servers. Yet, as they produce heat, they need to be cooled down to be operational. That requires added energy.

China has about 90 colocation data centres all over the country. In his address at the 2020 Climate Ambition Summit, Xi Jinping announced China’s goal is to have 1,200 GW of combined wind and solar energy capacity by the year 2030.

Indeed, China’s digital adoption needs are growing. Just recently, it launched its East-to-West digital transformation initiative which basically targets the less developed Western part of the country to be utilised to expand its computing power. That can mean an added boost for the economy. On the other hand, that also means the demand for energy will also soar.

Already, China is slowly reaping the rewards of digitisation. For instance, e-commerce deliveries today have made the most of driverless delivery vehicles and drones as reported on OpenGov Asia.


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