From Science Daily:

China has an opportunity to massively increase its use of wind power — if it properly integrates wind into its existing power system, according to a newly published MIT study.

The study forecasts that wind power could provide 26 percent of China’s projected electricity demand by 2030, up from 3 percent in 2015. Such a change would be a substantial gain in the global transition to renewable energy, since China produces the most total greenhouse gas emissions of any country in the world.

But the projection comes with a catch. China should not necessarily build more wind power in its windiest areas, the study finds. Instead, it should build more wind turbines in areas where they can be more easily integrated into the operations of its existing electricity grid.

“Wind that is built in distant, resource-rich areas benefits from more favorable physical properties but suffers from existing constraints on the operation of the power system,” states Valerie Karplus, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, director of the Tsinghua-MIT China Energy and Climate Project, and a member of the MIT Energy Initiative. Those constraints include greater transmission costs and the cost of “curtailment,” when available wind power is not used.

The paper, “Integrating wind into China’s coal-heavy electricity system,” is appearing in Nature Energy. In addition to Karplus, the authors are Michael R. Davidson, a graduate student in MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and…

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