State Grid Corporation, China, increases pumped-storage to help meet the country’s carbon goals

State Grid Corporation of China (SGC) launched the construction in early August of the 1200 MW Jiaohe pumped-storage scheme in the northeastern province of Jilin.

With a total investment of CNY 6.97 billion (US$1.03 billion), the Jiaohe plant, which will be equipped with four 300 MW reversible pump-turbines, is expected to be put into operation in 2029. The project is designed to generate 2 TWh/year and will consume an average of 2.68 TWh/year for pumping. It will be able to improve system frequency, phase modulation and emergency backup capacity of the power grid significantly in Jilin Province and the northeast region, and alleviate the peak shaving capacity of the grid, SGC has said. The plant’s flexible operation will help integrate intermittent renewable energy and will operate effectively in tandem with Jilin’s thermal power stations, which account for 53 per cent of the province’s total installed capacity. This will help to improve the operating conditions of the power system (safety, reliability and stability), and reduce unit energy consumption. The future station would reduce the consumption of raw coal by about 273 000 t, and CO2 emissions by about 511 000 t/year. The project is the first of eight pumped-storage plants with a total installed capacity of 10.4 GW and total investment of around CNY70 billion that SGC is planning to start building in Jilin province during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. The grid operator said it is currently constructing 38 pumped-storage projects with a total installed capacity of 53.23 GW, as part of the Government’s green energy transition, and that it had begun building four projects in the country at a total investment of CNY38.2 billion so far this year. Xin Baoan, Chairman of SGC, said the company had been stepping up investment in energy storage in recent years as part of the overall national target of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2060. According to the Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for Pumped Storage (2021-2035), the country’s total pumped-storage cap­acity will exceed 62 GW by 2025 and reach around 120 GW by 2030. At present, there are 30 pumped-storage stations with an installed capacity of 29.81 GW in operation in SGC’s operating area.