Monday, March 6, 2017

China bans wind due to Ontario-like curtailment levels

A report from China contains data on industrial wind that should be compared to similar Ontario data, so...

New wind power projects banned in 6 regions |
The National Energy Administration (NEA) has issued red alerts, or the highest warning, in six provincial regions where new wind power projects will be prohibited this year...
The six restricted regions include Heilongjiang, Jilin and Gansu provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions...
Large amounts of wind power were wasted in these regions last year...
According to official data, last year the waste proportion of these regions were Gansu (43 percent), Xinjiang (38 percent), Jilin (30 percent), Inner Mongolia (21 percent), Heilongjiang (19 percent).

Wind power facilities generated 241 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016...
However, close to 50 billion kilowatt hours of wind power was wasted, up from 33.9 billion kilowatt hours a year earlier, due to distribution of wind resources and an imperfect grid system.
In Ontario, the IESO doesn't seem as advanced as the Chinese NEA so is yet to release an official curtailment figure, but I've got estimates!

I estimate in 2016 Ontario curtailed approximately 2.3 TWh (billions of kilowatt-hours), up 300% from the 0.734 TWh the IESO (system operator) reported for 2015.

None of the IESO's zones showed curtailment levels as high as Gansu and Xinjiang, but I estimate 4 zones has curtailment rates similar to the other regions China has now banned projects from: Bruce (28%), Northwest (23.5%), Southwest (20.6%) and West (19%).

Overall estimation of a total percentage is confused by the fact some industrial wind facilities are embedded in distribution networks - their output is not reported by the IESO, and the IESO is unlikely to be capable of curtailing that supply. For transmission system connected generators, I estimate curtailment in 2016 at 20%, but including estimated embedded generation the figure drops to 18% - still higher than China's 17%.

In the fall of 2016 unit 2 (878 MWe) of the Darlington nuclear power plant was removed from service for 3 years as it undergoes refurbishment. An additional 700 MW of natural gas-fired capacity that ran as baseload supply one year ago has been removed from service or re-contracted on a capacity basis (DESTEC 120, Kapuskasing GS 60, Nipigon GS 40,  North Bay 60, Iroquois Falls 120, TransAlta Windsor 72, TransAlta Mississauga/Douglas 108, and West Windsor 127). As expected, the initial months of 2017 do show a drop in curtailments, but the highest curtailment periods of a year are still to come.

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