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Facing the transformation of the energy structure to achieve carbon neutrality, what should the photovoltaic industry do?

Mar 10, 2021

Facing the transformation of the energy structure to achieve "carbon neutrality", what should the photovoltaic industry do?

Build photovoltaic power generation and realize full electrification of buildings.

On September 22, President Xi Jinping delivered an important report at the United Nations General Debate Conference, talking about the enlightenment of the new crown epidemic. It pointed out that China should improve its independent contribution ability and, under the premise of the Paris Agreement, further carry out actions to reduce emissions and control climate, and strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

This decision demonstrates the Chinese government's positive stance on climate governance and the style of a major country. It also clearly sets forth the goals and tasks of the energy revolution in the next 40 years. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 is an arduous and complex challenge, and achieving zero emissions is the final goal of the energy transition.

Why realize the energy transition? Because the only way to solve the energy problem is to completely change the energy structure.

In recent years, China’s energy security has faced many problems, such as the country’s insufficient oil and gas resources, over 70% of its dependence on foreign oil, and over 40% of its dependence on natural gas. With the gradual increase in the application of natural gas, the proportion of external dependence is still increasing. For a large country like China, under the current complex international situation, a large proportion of energy supply relies on imports, which is an unstable factor for energy security and needs to be resolved urgently.

Second, atmospheric governance faces challenges. Solving the smog problem affects the quality of life of every citizen. Environmental science researchers pointed out that to control smog and reach the 15μg target, fossil energy must be banned, so this also requires people to improve the energy structure.

Then there is the issue of climate change. With the development of the times, people increasingly realize that due to the large amount of carbon dioxide emitted by humans, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is too high, and the living environment is facing destruction. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions and improving the global environment is the only way for mankind to manage the environment.

In recent years, China’s total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil energy use has approached 10 billion tons, and it is the world’s largest country in terms of total carbon emissions. It is far from the goal of carbon neutrality. This can only change the energy structure to achieve carbon neutrality.

Therefore, only by transforming the energy structure based on fossil energy to a low-carbon energy structure based on zero-carbon energy such as renewable energy and nuclear energy can carbon neutrality be achieved and the energy security, air pollution, and air pollution problems faced by the country can be solved. Climate change issues.

When we achieve carbon neutrality in 2060, what will happen to our energy structure by then?

Hydropower has grown from 1.5 trillion to 2 trillion, and wind power, photovoltaics, and nuclear power have grown to 2 trillion, 3 trillion, and 1.6 trillion respectively, so that the total is 8.6 trillion. 8.6 trillion yuan will account for 78% of the total future electricity consumption. Coal, gas, and thermal power will be reused to solve peak shaving and balance in key areas, ensure the stability of the power system, and solve the remaining 2.4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity vacancies, so that it can be used in the future Achieve a total annual electricity consumption of 110,000 kWh.

At present, the domestic annual electricity consumption is about 7 trillion kWh, and future electricity consumption is estimated to increase by 50%. The current power supply accounts for 30%, and the future power supply will reach 65%; zero-carbon energy currently accounts for less than 20%, and it will rise to 70% in the future.

In this way, what are the main characteristics of the new low-carbon energy structure? That is mainly the direct output of electricity in the form of nuclear power, wind power, photovoltaic, hydropower, etc. Solar energy can produce heat, but it cannot be transported over long distances. Biomass energy is output in the form of fuel. This is the only zero-carbon fuel, but the amount is not large. , The future will only account for 20% of the total, and most of them will directly output electricity.

In the future, the main sources of electricity are wind power and photovoltaics. These are all low-energy-density energy sources. Units of square meter can only provide about 100 watts of electricity, while a small power plant can produce hundreds of thousands of kilowatts. The characteristics of the two are different. What resources are most needed to develop wind power and photovoltaics at this time? Not minerals, but space.

From this point of view, the future will no longer be the traditional centralized power generation method, but the distributed capacity, especially the distributed photovoltaic, which is mainly self-produced and used, combined with production and use, and gradually developed into a capacity building. This requires the power grid to change from one-way to two-way, with functions becoming interoperable, and the power grid system also faces major challenges, including all-round changes in architecture, technology, and pricing mechanisms.

What should be done for the photovoltaic industry?

The first is to fully tap the available space, maximize the surface of the building, build photovoltaic power generation, and the space where the sun can be seen is the most precious resource.

The country will develop 2 to 3 billion kilowatts of photovoltaics in the future, which requires an installation area of 20 to 30 billion square meters, which is equivalent to 20,000 to 30,000 square kilometers. The total amount of urban and rural buildings is 780 billion square meters, and about 5 billion square meters of urban areas can be installed with photovoltaics. The rural areas are all bungalows with a roof of about 20 billion square meters. This area is almost enough for the development of photovoltaics. Only 70% of it needs to be installed to solve two-thirds of the demand. Therefore, building photovoltaics is promising.

The second is to increase the proportion of electricity used in buildings as much as possible to achieve full electrification of buildings. At present, many places are trying hard to abolish natural gas cooking and change to electric cooking utensils. There has been a lot of progress.

Energy saving is the foundation. Passive priority is to reduce demand, and active optimization is to improve efficiency. In the future, we will continue to change the form, adapt to low-carbon forms, develop building exteriors, and increase photovoltaic applications. Use electricity instead of fuel, vigorously develop photovoltaic building integration, develop flexible power load buildings to meet the needs of large-scale use of wind power and photovoltaics, and then incorporate smart charging piles into the building power distribution system. The future trend is likely to be building distribution systems. The direct current of electricity, so the building plays an important role in the future low-carbon energy system, so in general, it is to actively innovate and respond to challenges.