It¡¯s about Time to Construct Global ¡°Electricity High-speed Network¡±
Editor: On October 5, the article ¡°It¡¯s about Time to Construct Global ¡®Electricity High-speed Network¡¯¡± written by a Xinhua correspondent was published on the third page of Guangming Daily. The article presented interviews with domestic and foreign experts, and introduced the basic connotation and its significance in the real world of global energy interconnection. The following is the full text.

At the end of September, in the keynote speech by Chinese President Xi Jinxing at UN Sustainable Development Summit, he proposed discussion on establishing a global energy Internet to facilitate efforts to meet the global power demand with clean and green alternatives. Experts believe this initiative plays an active role in solving our problems regarding energy and environmental sustainability.

¡°Energy interconnection means energy from various production methods can be transmitted to places where it is needed in a convenient and efficient way, ¡° said Professor Joanna Haigh, Co-Director of Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment of Imperial College London in an email to Xinhua, ¡°Solar power, wind power and marine energy is unstable and intermittent. But energy interconnection can allow the integrated utilization of decentralized and smaller-scale producers of the renewables.¡±

In June this year, Professor Haigh was quite impressed by the concept of global energy interconnection initiated by SGCC when attending a climate forum in Europe. She said, ¡°It was great news¡± when Chinese President Xi proposed discussion on building global energy interconnection and supported carbon emission reduction from the international community.

¡°China has great potential in technology. If China plans to launch and support the necessary development of global energy interconnection, I am pretty sure that the enormous advantages of global energy interconnection will be more likely to turn into reality. We are more likely to have a greener and cleaner future,¡± said Haigh.

What¡¯s worth mentioning is that there is no universal definition of global energy interconnection. In America, Chinese Professor Huang Qin from North Carolina State University and economist Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution, also came up with the notion of energy interconnection. 

Jeremy Rifkin imagines hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and sharing it with each other in an "energy internet," just like we now create and share information online. And the concept of energy interconnection brought up by Huang Qin emphasizes more on how every household participates in power trade at the market and turns the closed electricity market for centuries into a modern business as competitive as the Internet.

Different from these two people, the global energy interconnection proposed by SGCC emphasizes more on transmission and consumption. It refers to a globally interconnected strong, smart grid of ubiquitous existence, backboned by UHV grid (Channel) and with electricity fueled by clean energy as priority.

Right now, clean energy is distributed in an uneven way around the globe. For example, the Equator has rich solar power while the North Pole has rich wind power. The global energy interconnection can connect the above-mentioned large energy bases at the Equator and the North Pole and in other continents, delivering electricity fueled by renewables such as wind power, solar power and marine energy to different users.

In a seminar held in New York, US, SGCC Chairman Liu Zhenya said the following decades would be the key period for constructing global energy interconnection, breaking into three phases, namely, domestic interconnection, intracontinental interconnection and intercontinental interconnection. By 2050, global energy interconnection will basically come into being, forming a new pattern dominated by clean energy.

Spokesperson from SGCC painted a picture of how energy Internet looks like: Europe and Asia are interconnected; Asia and North America are interconnected via the Bering Strait; South America and North America are connected; North Africa and Europe are connected via the Mediterranean sea, or via the Strait of Gibraltar, or via West Asia; Egypt and Ethiopia in East Africa connect with Asia; and Southeast Asia and Australia are connected via submarine cable.

¡°It¡¯s a great idea,¡± said Haigh, ¡°(existing) early research shows that at least intracontinental interconnection is feasible. But transmission technology and smart control technology need to be nailed down.¡±

Huang Qin said global energy interconnection proposed by SGCC was like high-speed rail during his interview with Xinhua. It connects various regions. But first it has to be made clear where large-capacity electricity is needed. Then it involves a lot of politics and policies. ¡°It is no more a single technical problem¡±. For example, the power grid management policy in the US puts a high bar for power companies to enter the domestic market.

He also thinks that various concepts of energy interconnection can complement each other. In fact there is no real conflict. SGCC is leading the world in UHV. It can exert this advantage to build the backbone grid of energy interconnection. In Huang¡¯s notion, the emphasis is on the users. The goal is that every user will have a more important role in the transmission, distribution and trading of electric power.

When looking into the future of energy interconnection, Huang said that energy is regarded as a necessity but not the engine to drive up exponential economic growth. He hoped that energy interconnection could leash more driving forces than the Internet, benefiting every one ultimately.

Source: Guangming Daily

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