According to numbers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and others, the nation’s installed solar power capacity has risen almost 13-fold since 2011 and its wind capacity has almost doubled since 2012, with China building over half of the world’s new wind installations in 2015. But 15 per cent of these wind farms and 31 per cent of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are currently idle due to the grid's inability to accommodate them.
In the northern provinces, which feature the largest number of idle wind farms, the government has already suspended planning approval for any new wind projects this year. This week the country’s National Energy Administration ordered grid operators to connect all operational renewable power installations that meet technical standards, a move that will necessitate quick construction of new grid infrastructure.
In a press briefing, grid operator the State Grid Corporation of China said it is currently building 17 ultra-high voltage long-distance transmission lines. The company reportedly blamed failures in short- and long-term planning for the grid’s inadequacy, emphasizing that both the grid technology and the available funding are up to the task.
China’s grid capability reportedly lags generation capacity by three to five years.