SINO-GERMAN ENERGY TRANSITION PROJECT

China is the world’s largest coal consumer and the country with the highest greenhouse gas emissions. To meet its climate goals, in particular its recent ambitious commitments to peak the country’s carbon emissions before 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2060, China needs to dramatically transform its energy system, away from fossil fuels and towards a flexible system based on renewable energy.

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Objective

Exchanging know how and working together to advance a future without greenhouse gas emissions is essential to limiting global warming. Germany has set up Energy Partnerships to foster exchanges with countries striving to transform their energy systems. Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the Sino-German Energy Transition Project is part of the Sino-German Energy Partnership and focusses on sharing German experiences with the energy transition and providing advice to the Chinese government and associated energy policy think tanks. The project aims to promote a low-carbon-oriented energy policy and help to build a more effective, low-carbon energy system in China through international cooperation and mutual benefit policy research and modelling. In addition, valuable input from the Chinese partners will refine German practices and offer a different perspective on current and future approaches.

Partners

To carry out the project, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Energy Agency (dena) and Agora Energiewende collaborate with the China Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute (EPPEI), China Southern Power Grid (CSG), and the Institute for Applied Ecology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAE).

Approach

To achieve the overall objective, the Sino-German Energy Transition Project introduces German experiences of the energy transition into advising the Chinese government and energy policy-related think tanks.

The project implements this program under 4 work streams:

  • Providing technical advice to Chinese policymakers on the low-carbon transformation of the Chinese energy system
  • Sharing German energy transition experiences and expertise as inputs for the modeling of energy scenarios and corresponding
  • Coordinating the contributions of German partner institutions to promoting the low-carbon orientation of China’s
  • Increasing visibility of the German energy transition and Sino-German cooperation in the energy sector

The Chinese and German partners will collaborate in research of 9 topics. The project is expected to have a diverse range of outputs includes bilateral workshops, modeling workshops, policy reports and technical publications.

  • Distributed Energy
  • Rural Energy Transition
  • Power Market Reform
  • Provincial Energy Transition
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Heating and cooling
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Hydrogen
  • Grid Planning (including flexibility and demand-side response)

Project Results

Distributed Energy

1. Distributed solar and storage economics

Distributed energy is a central element of the low-carbon energy transition. In a distributed energy system, energy production and consumption will gradually shift from an extensive, central layout in which customers play a purely passive role, to one in which consumers and prosumers actively participate in energy production, storage, and demand response.

This internal, GIZ-led policy analysis and briefing paper illustrates the economics of distrusted solar and distributed energy storage through the internal rate of return (IRR) in cities with different time-of-use (TOU) prices and different solar irradiation. The GIZ analysis shows that solar PV paired with storage would be economically attractive for commercial customers in many regions of China at today’s time-of-use electricity prices. The study provides a map for distributed PV investment attractiveness given the internal rate of return (IRR) of the investment.

Report | Economics of Urban Distributed PV in China

Authors: Anders Hove, Qian Wenyun, Liu Qingyang, Liu Yuzhao, GIZ

07/2021

Report | Impact of China wholesale power price reform on economics of distributed PV and storage

Authors: Anders Hove, Zheng Qi, GIZ

02/2022


2. Enhancing economics of distributed solar by quantifying effects of air pollution

Overview: This GIZ-led research project aims to quantify the impact of air pollution on PV output at an urban location, with the aim of contributing to open-source models and tools for potential adopters of distributed solar as well as helping reduce the cost of financing and insuring small-scale solar projects in the developing world.

Distributed energy is predominantly located in urban areas that face air quality challenges. The small scale of distributed solar projects makes extensive due diligence infeasible, meaning that such projects rely on industry knowledge and open-source tools for financing and insurance. Presently, there exists limited scientific knowledge in the public domain concerning the impact of air pollution, particularly particulates, on solar performance. Most publications in this field rely on satellite observations and modelling, not on physical experiments and ground-based observation.

The GIZ team produced a video outlining the experiment study of the impact of air pollution on solar PV output.

Video | GIZ research - Quantifying the impact of air pollution on solar output ​​​​​​​

Power Market Reform

Flexibility and capacity adequacy

This analysis aims to quantify and compare the flexibility of electric power systems in China and Europe, and to compare methodologies planners use in each region to ensure the system’s capacity is adequate to meet demand.

In Europe, as coal and nuclear scale down and are replaced by variable sources of energy, flexibility and capacity adequacy are more important than ever — and more challenging to manage and plan. In China, where new coal plants are still the main solution for projected power shortages, system planners need to understand how power systems that scale back conventional generation can ensure flexibility and adequacy.

Assessing power system adequacy in Germany and Europe, and lessons for China - English

Assessing power system adequacy in Germany and Europe, and lessons for China - Chinese

Authors: Dr. Karolina Jankowska, dena, Dr. Thomas Ackermann, Energynautics, Peter-Philipp Schierhorn, Energynautics Anders Hove, GIZ

03/2022

Flexibility Technologies and Measures in the German Power System

Authors: Dr. Karolina Jankowska, Corina Bolintineanu, dena

01/2022

Sector Coupling

High power charging in cities

Through this collaborative research, the Energy Transition project and its partners seek to determine best practices in facilitating the integration of EVs and its HPC infrastructure in urban areas. The research will specifically help German and Chinese think tanks inform NEA and BMWKi and help contribute to the development of low-carbon aspects of policy planning.

Significance: Cities have a high potential for integrating renewable energy on a large scale and a fast uptake of innovation. High-power charging is a great way to help achieve RE integration. However, cities face challenges regarding distribution of space, since transport, residence, commerce and industry all compete for the same locations. Therefore, it is valuable to determine best-practice approaches in China and Germany on efficient HPC planning and investment, and to identify new technologies and business models to facilitate the implementation of high-power charging in urban areas. The research will also assist and advise cities in China and Germany to optimize investments on grid and charging infrastructure.

Key findings | High-powered charging strategy could help Berlin reduce cost, absorb more renewables

Author: Anders Hove

09/2022

Key findings | High-powered charging experience from Chinese city has lessons for Berlin’s future charging rollout

Author: Anders Hove

09/2022

Rural Energy Transition

The rural energy transition often receives less attention than the low-carbon transition in urban or industrial sectors, despite the enormous potential of rural areas for decentral renewable energy generation and potentials to achieve high rates of self-sufficiency. The report Pursuing a low-carbon rural energy transition in China and Germany shares the findings on this topic from two research teams of the Wuppertal University and Wuppertal Institute in Germany, and the China Academy of the Sciences Institute of Applied Ecology in China. This report analyses case studies of two rural villages and towns—Dongqiaotou in Shandong province, China, and Schwaig in Bavaria, Germany. The report found that combining solar energy, heat pumps, and smart charging of electric vehicles can enable rural communities to become more self-sufficient in their energy supply, with benefits for energy supply resilience and lower network costs.

Key findings | Combining PV, heat pumps, and EVs offers benefits for rural energy transition in China and Germany

Report | Pursuing a low-carbon rural energy transition in China and Germany (English)

Report | Pursuing a low-carbon rural energy transition in China and Germany (Chinese)

Authors: Bing Xue, Hongqing Li, Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Applied Ecology / Michael Popp, Markus Zdrallek, Jessica Stephan, Sven Pack, Wuppertal University / Ulrich Jansen, Thorsten Koska, Wuppertal Institute / Anders Hove, Philipp Geres, GIZ

08/2022

Provincial Energy Transition

Energy transition in key regions is crucial to the success of the national transition. However, most of the exchanges and cooperation between China and Germany for now stays on the national level. To allow more practical interactions on the sub-national level, it is significant to take a closer look into the changes that coal regions of the two countries are undergoing. This project allows project implementation partner Agora to create an exchange channel between Shanxi and Germany and to share the energy transition experience and communicate views with stakeholders on both national and regional levels.

Facilitates dialogue on provincial energy transition between China and Europe

Grid planning, Flexibility, Demand Side Management (DSM)

1. Data centre flexibility for renewable integration

The Sino-German Energy Transition Project implementing partners dena and GIZ worked together with the Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute (EPPEI) and experts from the North China Electric Power University and Greenpeace East Asia on technical options and business models for data centres to participate in the power market and deploy their flexibility and overall sector coupling potential. Researchers have conducted interviews with data centres, grid operators, and academics in China and Germany to identify the current situation and challenges. Based on the interviews, the researchers can identify best practices and share recommendations for improved policy and market conditions.

Report | Data centre flexibility in Germany and China - English

Report | Data centre flexibility in Germany and China - Chinese

Authors: Katerina Simou, dena; Corina Bolintineanu, dena

Contributors: Anders Hove, GIZ China; Dr. Peter Radgen, University of Stuttgart; Ye Ruiqi, Greenpeace East Asia; Zhang Sufang, North China Electric Power University

03/2022

Video | Data Centre Flexibility in Germany and China: Results from an Interview-based study

Podcast | experts discuss their joint research of data center flexibility in China and Europe


2. Integrating energy efficiency and demand side flexibility in the industry

The analysis aims to identify and evaluate the interdependencies between energy efficiency and demand side flexibility (DSF) in the industry and highlight best practices in Germany and China. The analysis will inform the development of an approach for an “efficient system optimum” that helps regulators prioritize measures of improving energy efficiency and exploiting DSF potentials in different industrial sectors.

The interdependencies between energy efficiency and DSF in the industry are not yet thoroughly researched, but are important for an efficient system optimum and for regulators to design policy instruments accordingly. With this analysis we cover the research gapby developing a concept for integrating the requirements of improving energy efficiency and exploiting DSF potentials in the industry (efficient system optimum), by analysing the profitability of DSF for end users, and by making proposals for suitable policy instruments for promoting energy efficiency and DSF in the industry.

Report | A comparative Analysis and Simulation of DSM and Energy Efficiency in Chinese and German Industry (English)

Report |  A comparative Analysis and Simulation of DSM and Energy Efficiency in Chinese and German Industry (Chinese)

Authors: Dr. Philip Schnaars, Tobias Sprenger, Patricia Wild, Julian Keutz, Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne gGmbH (EWI)

Tool | DSM_EE_Simulation_ EN

Tool | DSM_EE_Simulation_ CN

08/2022


3. A quantitative comparative study of power system flexibility in Jing-Jin-Ji and Germany

In this report, A Quantitative Comparative Study of Power System Flexibility in Jing-Jin-Ji and Germany, researchers at the Energy Research Institute of NDRC and the North China Power University used five metrics to quantify flexibility in Germany versus Jing-Jin-Ji—the region comprising Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, altogether has a larger population and electricity load than Germany. The five metrics are the Loss-of-Load-Probability (LOLP), the probability of insufficient downward flexibility, the probability of insufficient upward flexibility, and the curtailment rate of wind and solar. We used historical data to ensure reliability, though future analysis will likely consider projected data as well. 

The overall results show that the Jing-Jin-Ji region of China lacks the flexibility of Germany’s power system. In particular, North Hebei has a relatively high loss-of-load-probability (LOLP), in both winter and summer, as well as lacking downward flexibility in both seasons. This inflexibility contributes directly to curtailment of renewable energy.

Report | A quantitative comparative study of power system flexibility in Jing-Jin-Ji and Germany

Authors:  Zheng Yanan, Wang Xinnan, Anders Hove, Li Gengyin, Guo Zheyu

08/2020

Key Findings | Quantifying power sector flexibility in Germany and China’s Jing-Jin-Ji region, for better integration of renewables

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Project Brochure

Brochure

Work in Progress 2021: The Sino-German Energy Transition Project (Chinese)

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Brochure

Work in Progress 2021: The Sino-German Energy Transition Project (EN)

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Brochure

Sino-German Energy Transition Project

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Project Videos

Video

GIZ research - Quantifying the impact of air pollution on solar output

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Video

Data Centre Flexibility in Germany and China: Results from an Interview-based study

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Video

Solar Trends and Renewable Sector Coupling

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Our Team

Christoph Both

Christoph Both

Project Manager
Sino-German Energy Transition Project

christoph.both(at)giz.de

Liu Xueling

Liu Xueling

Technical Advisor
Sino-German Energy Transition Project

xueling.liu@giz.de

Philipp Geres

Philipp Geres

Project Manager
Sino-German Energy Transition Project

philipp.geres(at)giz.de

Qian Wenyun

Qian Wenyun

Project Officer
Sino-German Energy Transition Project

wenyun(at)giz.de