The Delingha 50 MW solar thermal power plant constructed by CGN New Energy, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation, in the northwestern province of Qinghai was put into operation on October 10th, 2018.
As China's first large commercial parabolic-trough concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, the operation of the solar power makes China the eighth country in the world to have a large solar thermal power station, said Li Yilun, managing director of CGN New Energy.
This is a landmark for the company’s solar-thermal energy development after more than ten years of development, he said during a news conference held in Beijing on Wednesday.
According to Li, CGN’s solar power business, after more than ten years’ development, currently covers 29 provinces nationwide, with an installed capacity exceeding 2.58 million kilowatts that ranks third across the country.
Li said compared with photovoltaic power, the CSP features continuous and steady generation of electricity, enjoying greater development potential.
Built on a sparsely populated plateau, 3,000 meters above sea level, the Delingha power plant occupies an area of 2.46 square kilometers (246 hectares). The plant was connected to the grid with the power block part for the first time successfully on June 30th, 2018.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the commissioning of the CGN New Energy project is evidence that Chinese electricity producers remain very keen on developing clean energy.
“Chinese power producers are all seeking more advanced solutions,” said Jacobelli.
“We would expect that companies such CGN New Energy will continue to seek out more advanced wind, solar and energy storage technologies in coming years.”
Chances are high that these Chinese clean energy companies will continue expanding in the clean energy sectors abroad in coming years, as many companies are stepping up their performance in overseas markets, actively investing in assets abroad buoyed by the China-led Belt and Road Initiative, he added.
According to Wang Zhigang, managing director of the Delingha project, the solar power project located on the plateau with cold temperatures and oxygen deficiency is capable of producing some 200 million kilowatt hours annually and replace more than 60,000 tons of standard coal each year and 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission every year.
The main part of the project commenced construction in August 2015, and is the country’s first solar thermal power plant connected to the power grid. It is also the first solar thermal power project that received a preferential loan from the Asian Development Bank, said the company.
CGN has also been developing in other forms of new energy in recent years in addition to nuclear power, including the country’s first large scale offshore wind power project in Shanghai, he said.