Author: Ma Chenchen

While eliminating backward production capacity and deploying advanced units, the replacement of old and new coal power industry is accelerating this year.

According to incomplete statistics from the first financial reporter, as of March 3, Hunan, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong, Hubei and other provinces have successively disclosed the elimination and shutdown of coal-fired power units in 19-2022, involving more than 2023 coal-fired power units.

Shandong accounted for the majority of coal-fired power units shut down, reaching 73. However, similar to other provinces, most of the units shut down in Shandong are below 5,2 kilowatts. The larger capacity in the above-mentioned shutdown group is two 21,<>-kilowatt units of Datang Huayin Power Company in Yunyang City, Hunan Province.

Although the number of eliminated units is huge, because the backward production capacity is mainly small-capacity units, the total capacity of the above units is only about 300 million kilowatts. The latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the installed capacity of power generation in the country will 2022 256405,7 kilowatts at the end of 8, an increase of 133239.2% over the end of the previous year, of which the installed capacity of thermal power 7 million kilowatts, an increase of <>.<>%. In contrast, the new installed capacity is significantly higher than the eliminated capacity.

According to information disclosed by various places, most of these new installed capacity comes from large-capacity advanced coal-fired units. Taking Shanxi, a major coal power province, as an example, the list of provincial key engineering projects in Shanxi in 2022 involves six "large-scale, small-pressure" coal power projects, 12 of which are 100 million kilowatt large units. In addition, there are five low-calorific value coal power generation projects, and the minimum installed capacity of a single unit is also 35,<> kilowatts.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Energy Research Institute of Xiamen University, told First Finance and Economics that in the past two years, "big pressure and small pressure" has almost become the consensus of the coal power industry, not only to alleviate the power pressure during peak hours and extreme weather, but also to provide stable "support" for renewable energy. Although small units also have certain advantages in some aspects, from the overall point of view, shutting down backward small coal power units and replacing them with advanced units with large capacity, high parameters, low energy consumption and low emissions is still an important means to promote the optimization of coal power structure, clean and efficient development.

Small coal power continues to be phased out

According to the announcement issued by the Hunan Provincial Energy Bureau on March 3, according to the task requirements issued by the National Energy Administration for the coal power industry in Hunan Province in 14, the 2022×2,21 kilowatt shutdown and dismantling unit of Datang Huayin Power Co., Ltd. has been inspected and accepted on site.

This is also a case of large capacity in the shutdown group announced by many provinces this year. According to official information, the two 21,34-kilowatt coal-fired power units in Yunyang have been in service for 2022 years, which is a deferred service and officially shut down in early December 12. In order to alleviate the tension of local electricity consumption, a new electrochemical energy storage power station (20,40 kWh/<>,<> kWh) was successfully put into operation and connected to the grid at full capacity in the same month, which is also the largest electrochemical energy storage project in Hunan Province.

In the coal power industry, those below 10,30 kilowatts are usually called small coal power units, those about 60,<> kilowatts are called medium-sized coal power units, and <>,<> kilowatts and above are called large coal power units.

The first financial reporter combed and found that in the list of eliminated and shut down coal-fired power units announced in many places this year, cases similar to Hunan can reach the scale of medium-sized coal-fired power units are rarer, and more common are small coal-fired power units, which is commonly known as "small coal power" in the industry.

According to the list published by the Shandong Provincial Energy Bureau, the 73 shut down coal-fired power units involved more than ten cities such as Weifang, Yantai and Jining, and the types of power plants covered many fields such as chemical industry, heat and power, and paper industry. Among them, there are more than 5 coal-fired power units below 60,<> kilowatts.

In fact, many provinces across the country issued notices on the elimination and shutdown of coal-fired units below 30,2020 kilowatts during the "2020th Five-Year Plan" period, and gave clear quantitative targets. For example, the "Henan Province 30 Air Pollution Prevention and Control Implementation Plan" proposes that by the end of 60, except for the units that must be retained for heating and heating tasks, all coal-fired power units below 65,<> kilowatts will be shut down and eliminated in principle, and coal-fired power units of <>,<> kilowatts and above will account for <>% of the province's coal power transfer.

However, another reality is that because some coal-fired units still undertake the task of heating and power supply for people's livelihood, they cannot simply "turn it off", so this work is still in the process of exploration during the "14th Five-Year Plan" period.

Recently, the shutdown data of small coal power plants has been released one after another, which has once again aroused the attention of people in the coal power industry. Some people in the business community speculate that in the case of large coal power units being approved for operation, whether the living space of small coal power squeezed may be loosened.

In this regard, Lin Boqiang said that under the "dual carbon" goal, the importance of energy conservation, carbon reduction, safety and efficiency is more prominent, many small coal power in China built in the last century, there are generally problems such as high coal consumption, old equipment, poor reliability, etc., even if it seeks to transform it is difficult to establish economically, it is better to replace it with a large unit.

"The reason why the call for small coal power has always existed, on the one hand, is that many of these coal power have passed the stage of repayment of principal and interest, excluding labor and fuel is profit, and the financial cost of new large units is much higher." On the other hand, many cogeneration captive power plants also provide an inexpensive heat source for residents and businesses. However, behind these conveniences is at the expense of environmental rights and interests, which is not in line with the mainstream of development. Therefore, the withdrawal of the vast majority of them is only a matter of time. However, the exit process should also be prioritized, and if the supply of local heat and electricity cannot keep up with demand for a while, then it will be slowed down. Lin Boqiang said.

In addition to the orderly advancement of time, some experts believe that categorical policies should be the basic idea when shutting down "small coal power" in the future.

Yuan Jiahai, a professor at the School of Economics and Management of North China Electric Power University, said to First Finance and Economics that first, back-pressure thermal power units should not be uniformly classified as backward units, and the actual efficiency is very high, at least better than large-scale pure condensing pumping units, which can be demonstrated according to the actual demonstration of the project. Second, 10,20 and <>,<> kilowatt-level units with good unit performance can be retained as strategic backup, which may become an important power grid backup and guarantee power supply in the future.

Large units approved for acceleration

Generally speaking, coal power projects go through five stages: announcement, project development, approval, construction, and operation. Among them, the three stages of announcement, project development and approval before the start of construction of the project can be collectively referred to as the early stage of the project, and the approval is the landmark node of the approval of the project.

The total installed capacity of coal power in the country is regularly announced by the Bureau of Statistics, but there is no authoritative statistics on the national coal power approval and construction starts. According to the report "Accelerating the Transformation and Optimal Development of Coal Power in Five Typical Provinces in China" released by the Peking University Energy Research Institute in December 2022, the total installed capacity of newly approved coal power projects in China has reached 12.2022 million kilowatts in January~November 1, more than three times the total amount approved in 11. Among them, the total amount of approved installed capacity in the third quarter of 6524 was the highest, reaching 2021.2022 million kilowatts.

The latest statistics from the Global Energy Monitoring Organization (GEM) show that in 2021, China approved more than 23GW of coal power projects. China's coal power approvals in 2022 exceeded four times that of 2021, reaching more than 4GW, equivalent to two coal power projects approved per week. The report said that the approval and start of coal-fired power plants in China accelerated significantly in 106, and the approval of new projects reached the highest level since 2.

A number of industry insiders told reporters that after experiencing the shortage of electricity consumption in 2021, the guarantee role of coal power has once again attracted great attention. At present, most of the newly approved coal power projects are large-scale coal-fired power units of 100 million kilowatts. Because the capacity is large enough, it can withstand the pressure brought by the future growth of electricity demand and large-scale access to new energy, and at the same time concentrate advanced technology to reduce coal consumption, energy conservation and carbon reduction.

There are also different views in the industry on whether the upward momentum of new coal power projects will continue in the future.

A special research report released by Changjiang Securities at the beginning of this year said that although the policy level has begun to affirm the important supporting role of traditional thermal power in the power system, and a large number of newly approved thermal power projects have also begun, the five major power generation groups of traditional thermal power giants are still cautious about thermal power projects. "We believe that the reason for the significant difference between industry dimensions and market perception is that the loss-making thermal power assets have made power generation groups more cautious in making decisions on new project investment."

According to its incomplete statistics, since September 2021, the five major power generation groups have transferred up to 9.2727 million kilowatts of thermal power installed capacity (including projects under transfer), and most of the transferred projects are thermal power projects that are deeply loss-making. In addition, among the newly approved thermal power projects in 3, projects belonging to the five major power generation groups accounted for 2022% of all newly approved installations, far lower than the installed capacity of about 31% of China's five major thermal power generation groups in operation at the end of 2021.

Zhou Dadi, member of the National Climate Change Expert Advisory Committee and executive vice chairman of the China Energy Research Association, said in an interview with the first financial reporter a few days ago that new energy power cannot be supported by thermal power for a long time, and sooner or later it is necessary to throw away the "crutch" of coal power, and other technologies need to be used to solve the reliable and stable operation of the power guarantee system.

"Although coal power also has a backup function for the development of new energy, once the coal power plant is completed, it will strive for more than 4000,<> hours of power generation per year for economic survival, and it is difficult to only serve as a backup support energy." This has become 'more water and rice, more rice and more water', and it is difficult to solve the structural low-carbon transformation problem. Zhou Dadi said.

Yuan Jiahai also believes that if the utilization rate of newly built coal-fired power units in many places cannot be increased due to market demand or the squeeze of new energy, it will cause greater waste. If these units are shut down early or lose market value due to the continued expansion of climate risks in the future, companies will also face a significant burden of stranded assets. Therefore, all localities should plan for the long term to avoid the phenomenon of large-scale construction and inefficient utilization while simply shutting down old units, resulting in a double waste of resources.