Research on North America Energy Interconnection First Released in Vancouver

2019 Global Grid Forum was held in Vancouver, Canada on September 10-11 during which the Research on North America Energy Interconnection was first released by the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) to provide innovative solutions for the sustainable development of economy, society and environment in North America.

Mr. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO, attended the forum and made a keynote speech entitled Build GEI, Open up a New Era of Sustainable Development for Mankind. Mr. Liu Guoyue, Deputy General Manager of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and Mr. Bi Yaxiong, Vice President of China Southern Power Grid Corporation attended the forum and delivered speeches.

图片1The Forum convened in the Asia Pacific Hall at the Simon Frasier University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Building GEI provides an integrated solution to promote global energy transition and accelerate clean energy development.

GEI is a modern energy system steering towards clean energy production, widespread energy allocation and electrification of energy consumption as well as an important platform for large-scale development, transmission and utilization of clean energy resources worldwide. In essence, the concept of GEI is “Smart Grid +UHV Grid+ Clean Energy”.

图片2Liu Zhenya deliverd a keynote speech at 2019 Global Grid Forum

As Mr. Liu Zhenya pointed out, the construction of GEI will expedite the implementation of the “Two Replacements, One Increase, One Restore and One Conversion”. “Two Replacements” are to use clean alternatives in energy production, replacing fossil fuels with hydro, solar, and wind energy known as “clean replacement”, and to promote electricity replacement in energy consumption, replacing coal, oil, natural gas and firewood with electricity. “One Increase” is to improve electrification across all social sectors. “One Restore” refers to the restoration of fossil energy to its basic attribute as industrial raw material. “One Conversion” means that carbon dioxide, water and other substances will be converted to fuels and raw materials like hydrogen, methane and methanol by virtue of electricity to pave the way for future energy development and sustainable development of mankind.

“At present, information connectivity has come true as more than 250 submarine cables and more than 700 communication satellites are now in place, which has profoundly changed the way people live and work. “The energy interconnection is clearly lagging behind, compared with that of the information.” According to Mr. Liu Zhenya, with the technological breakthrough of UHV, energy can be allocated to a wider range with stronger capability and higher efficiency. GEI could certainly be built and play an essential role in promoting energy transition and sustainable development of mankind.

图片3Liu Guoyue spoke at 2019 Global Grid Forum

In his speech, Mr. Liu Guoyue introduced the practice of SGCC in the construction of UHV projects in recent years. As he introduced, SGCC has mastered the technologies of long-distance and large-capacity power transmission. It has built a total number of 19 UHV projects, among them 8 are alternating current projects and the rest 11 are direct current projects, known as “8 AC 11 DC”, with an inter-regional and inter-provincial power transmission capacity of 210GW and a total grid-connected installed capacity of 1470GW, among which renewable energies including hydro, wind and solar power account for 36%.

According to Mr. Liu Guoyue, the power system will continue to develop towards highly clean power sources and extensively interconnected power grids, which is determined by the transition to clean and low-carbon energy. In the future, a power transmission and distribution network with stronger resource allocation capabilities, intelligent interaction capabilities and security capabilities needs to be built at a faster pace. SGCC will accelerate the creation of a world-class energy interconnection enterprise featuring "three-characteristics and two-networks". “Three characteristics” means it serves as a hub and a platform offering shared benefits. “Two networks” means to promote the construction of a strong smart grid and a ubiquitous power Internet of Things in a coordinated manner.

图片4Bi Yaxiong spoke at 2019 Global Grid Forum

According to Mr. Bi Yaxiong, at present, over 50% of the installed capacity and power generation from service areas of China Southern Power Grid are from non-fossil fuel resources. The company has extracted more than 80% of its hydropower resources from the west region while about 60% of the electricity load and electricity consumption are concentrated in the east.

That's why 18 trans-provincial and trans-regional power transmission channels of 500 kV and above have been built by China Southern Power Grid so that clean energy in the west could be continuously delivered to load centers thousands of miles away in the east. Up till now, more than 1,800 TWh of electricity has been transmitted from the west to the east, with hydropower, wind power, photovoltaic and other clean energy accounting to over 80%.

As can be seen from the transnational power cooperation in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin, Mr. Bi Yaxiong proposed that power interconnection was the inevitable choice for the optimal allocation of regional power resources in the Lancang-Mekong region. Based on the regional power resource endowment, the development of the power market and to what extent the countries want to connect with each other, it is expected that the overall interconnection scale of the region will increase rapidly in the next 15 years, which is expected to increase from the current 60 MW to 300 MW.

At the forum, GEIDCO called on all parties to make concerted efforts towards new prospects for global energy and power development by innovating in four aspects, namely the development concept, technical equipment, business model and market mechanism.

Break dependence on fossil energy and build North American Energy Interconnection that is clean, low-carbon, electricity-centered and highly-interconnected.

At the symposium on "Opportunities for Cross-border Grid Interconnection and Transmission Network Expansion" of Global Grid Forum on September 10, 2019, GEIDCO officially released the Research on North America Energy Interconnection.

Based on North America's economic and social environment development features, abundant clean energy resources and technology development trends, the report systematically analyzed the energy demand, power supply and demand as well as power flow in North America. The goal of the report was to build an energy system featuring electricity-centered clean energy transition and to further strengthen interconnection. Hence it proposed the scheme for developing North American Energy Interconnection and key interconnection projects and evaluated the comprehensive benefits of North American Energy Interconnection. The report was part of the Global Energy Interconnection research system to be established by GEIDCO, which spreads across the globe and across continents.

According to the report, North America is faced with challenges in energy and power development as oil and natural gas still remain the most important consumption energy sources and oil, natural gas and coal consumption account for 78% in total. At present, the population of North America accounts for about 6.5% of the world's total, but the annual carbon dioxide emission from energy consumption reaches 18% of the world's total. The cumulative carbon emissions have accounted for 30% of the world's total since the Industrial Revolution. Besides, the energy and power infrastructure in North America are obsolete and aging: 70% of US transmission lines and power transformers have been in operation for more than 25 years; the power generation equipment in Canada has been in operation for an average of nearly 40 years.

As the report has pointed out, the core of North America's green and low-carbon energy development is to embrace the GEI concept, specifically by establishing North American Energy Interconnection, accelerating the development of clean energy, strengthening the interconnection of energy infrastructure, achieving energy transition and green and low-carbon development as well as creating a modern energy system featuring production, allocation and utilization of clean energy at a large scale in North America.

GEIDCO proposed that priorities of building North American Energy Interconnection should be given to the development of hydropower bases along the Columbia River, Hudson Bay and Labrador Plateau in Canada, solar power bases in south-central US and northern Mexico, wind power bases in central and southern US and Quebec, Canada, as well as distributed clean energy across the continent. Efforts should be made to comprehensively strengthen the construction of key channels, backbone grids, and transnational and intercontinental grid interconnection to foster an overall pattern of "power transmission from North to South, from West to East, complementarity of hydro, wind and solar power, and intercontinental mutual support".

According to the research conducted by GEIDCO, taking the North American East-West power grid interconnection for example, the distance between the east and west coasts is more than 4,000 kilometers, and there is a three-hour time difference. The time difference could be fully utilized to bring about the benefits of peak shift through the power grid interconnection. Based on preliminary estimations, the peak shifting capacity benefit of the North American East and West power grid interconnection will be about 16 GW in 2050.

It was learned that the forum was jointly held by the Canadian Electricity Association, the Edison Electric Institute of the United States and GEIDCO. It focused on the theme of global power grid development, innovation and investment in the new century and probed into some core issues including the development of renewable energy and transmission, multinational power interconnection, power grid planning and technological innovation. The forum also invited more than 150 industry leaders from relevant international organizations, regional and industry organizations, energy and power companies, financial institutions to conduct exchanges and discussions, and look into the future of power transmission from a global perspective.

As the first international organization in the energy field registered in China, GEIDCO now has over 700 members in more than 100 countries (regions) covering five continents and has released 24 innovative achievements, such as GEI Backbone Grid Research, GEI Development Index, GEI Technology & Equipment Innovation Outline, GEI Standard System Research and research reports specific to regional energy interconnection.