In March 2014, we wrote that the approval progress of State Grid Corporation of China’s UHV transmission development plans has been slow not because the plans are unimportant, but because they are too important, with numerous and complex implications for China’s economy. We continue to hold the view that UHV development is a priority and will have a major influence on China’s evolving power sector landscape.
But where are we today? Grid-related curtailment of renewable energy is a growing concern, having worsened in many locations in recent years. Meanwhile air quality has either barely improved or worsened in many regions. As we have noted in the past, the power sector has been steadily reducing emissions, but grid curtailment of wind, solar and small hydro power has slowed the good progress. The non-power sector continues to be the primary focal point of emissions concern, but the concept of using the power sector to enable reduced emissions in the non-power sector depends on the grid. In this issue of TLG on China, we provide a recap of China’s UHV plans, update their current status, and highlight important trends from recent developments.