China's Vision of a Global Energy Grid:

              "A Grid to Knit Together the World"

Clean Energy Fashion Show

Reproduced from two articles in The Energy Times, March 21-28, 2016

Chairman Liu of State Grid Corp.EDITOR’S NOTE: This is excerpted and edited from a speech by Zhenya Liu, chairman of the State Grid Corp. of China, delivered in February 2016 at IHS CERAWeek in Houston. 

After years of construction, the networks of transportation and information have been interconnected worldwide. The energy network will follow the same direction, which turns out to be a Global Energy Interconnection.

The worldwide grid is an interconnected strong and smart grid with a UHV grid as the backbone, which will serve as a platform for extensive development, deployment and utilization of clean energy globally. In essence, the global grid is ‘UHV Grids + Smart Grids+ Clean Energy’. UHV grids are the key, smart grid is the foundation and clean energy is the principle.

The global grid will create great economic, social and environmental significance.

Wth the contribution of the global grid, if renewable generation grows at an annual growth rate of 12.4 percent over the world, then by 2050 renewable energy shall increase to 80 percent of total consumption, realizing clean energy supplement forever and completely solving the dilemmas caused by fossil fuels.

By 2050, the total CO2 emission will be controlled at about 11.5 billion tons, half of emissions in 1990, holding the temperature rise to within 2 degrees.

The accumulated investment on the global grid will exceed $50 trillion, tremendously boosting the development of new-emerging strategic industries, renewable energy, new materials and electric vehicle.

Moreover, it will bring great benefits through differences of power tariff levels, time and seasons. In the future, with the development of the global grid, electricity trade will witness a rapid growth and play a pivotal role in pulling economic growth.

HVDC transmission
Electricians work on a transmission tower In Chuzhou. // GettyImages

The global grid will curb international disputes and narrow regional gaps. Eventually, our world will turn into a peaceful and harmonious global village, a community of common destiny for all mankind with sufficient energy, blue skies and green land.

The construction of global energy interconnection can be divided into three phases, namely domestic interconnection, intra-continental interconnection, and intercontinental interconnection.

From now on to 2020, we need to promote clean energy development, domestic grid interconnection and smart grid construction in various countries. By 2030, large energy bases shall be established and grids shall be interconnected among countries within the continent.

By 2050, we need to accelerate the development of energy bases at the North Pole (wind power) and the Equatorial Regions (solar power), realizing intercontinental interconnections. By then the global energy interconnection will basically come into being.

At present, the prerequisite conditions for building global energy interconnections are satisfied.

The Global Energy Interconnection is a groundbreaking innovation in the 21st century energy sector, serving as a platform not only for energy and electric power, but also for information, science, service and civilization. It will deeply reshape the development structure of world energy and lead to energy revolution and transition.
China solar
Looking ahead, the global grid will cover every corner of the world through land grid and undersea cables, breaking the bottlenecks of resources, environment, time and space regarding energy development; realizing the large-scale exploration and utilization of centralized and distributed clean energy. It will fundamentally solve the problems of gas and oil transportation, thermal power plant pollution, nuclear waste disposal and carbon storage.

The global grid enables everyone to benefit from clean energy and smart service that are abundant but cheap, and to enjoy more comfortable life, more prosperous economy, more liable environment and more harmonious society.

We sincerely expect a reached consensus and strengthened cooperation based on the principled of mutual trust and benefit, common development, pragmatically carry forward innovative development of the global grid.
  • We need to set up a platform for global grid development cooperation. It requires extensive participation and cooperation of relevant governments, enterprises, social sectors and end users. At present, the State Grid Corp. of China is initiating an organization with joint forces that contributes to an international cross-border, cross-field and cross-disciplinary cooperation platform. We sincerely invite organizations, enterprises, research institutes and scholars from fields of energy, electric power, equipment, information and finance to join as members so as to jointly promote innovative development of the global grid.
  • We need to plan global grid development strategy. We need to jointly tackle key issues such as energy demand, clean energy exploration, policy mechanism, cross-border and intercontinental interconnection. We must coordinate production, education and research to achieve a large number of innovations in key domains such as clean energy, large-scale energy storage, UHV submarine cable and large grid operation and control, providing strong support for global grid development.
  • We need to launch key demonstration projects as soon as possible.  That would include promotung a large number of key projects such as clean energy transmission base construction and cross-border and intercontinental interconnection by enhancing cooperation between relevant sectors. China is adopting policies that lay down  concrete projects in terms of intercontinental power grids interconnection within Northeast, Southeast, Middle, South and West Asia, and transcontinental interconnections of Asia-Europe, Asia-Africa and Africa-Europe.
Global energy interconnection has a far-reaching significance. We welcome the positive participation from international communities to jointly promote a better and faster development of a global grid to bring huge benefits to all mankind and head for a better future.
Liu bio                           Global Energy Network Institute