On 6 January 2023, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) released the draft policy ‘Blue Book on Developing the Renewable Energy-based Power System’ for public comment. The policy sets 2030, 2045 and 2060 as milestones and suggests a “three-step” roadmap for the development stages of China’s new power system:
- Now – 2030: accelerating the transition phase from fossil energy to renewables, where China will continue to add new coal power plants for security of supply reasons, while renewables will dominate the generation incrementally
- 2030 – 2045: formation phase, where renewables will dominate installed capacity and cleaning up generation from coal power plants will be accelerated
- 2045 – 2060: consolidation and improvement phase, where renewables will dominate power generation and while PtX and hydrogen are well integrated
By highlighting the transition from “generation – grid – load” to “generation – grid – load – storage,” the Blue Book indicates the role of energy storage as the fourth essential element of China’s new power system. Different energy storage technologies are foreseen in various application scenarios with distinct steps of implementation:
- Phase I (present-2030) aims for meeting intra-day balancing demand.
- Phase II (2030-2045) focuses on longer term technologies including mechanical storage (pumped-hydro, compressed air, flywheels etc.), thermal storage and hydrogen (>10 hours).
- Phase III (2045-2060) achieves synergistic integration of multiple energy storage technologies.
The Blue Book once again stated the essential role of hydrogen in the future energy system. Additionally, it requests a full replacement of fuel vehicles by low-emission vehicles in the future; the development of a roadmap for hydrogen in energy storage and sector coupling is also foreseen. The Blue Book thus provides positive signals for the long-term development of China’s hydrogen industry.