China Power Moves to Develop Oil Shale; Tapping Wind Also
28 December 2005
China Daily. One of China’s top five power producers, China Power Investment Corp (CPIC), is planning to develop oil shale resources, in addition to expanding beyond coal-fired power generation into wind and nuclear.
The State-owned electricity generator has inked a framework agreement with the local government in Jilin Province for joint development of oil shale resources. Jilin has 546 million tons of total proven oil shale reserves, and 317 million tons can be commercially exploitable, according to reports.
Earlier this year, Royal Dutch Shell took a 61% stake in a new joint venture firm that will invest up to US$150 million in exploring and developing oil shale deposits in Jilin Province. The new joint venture company, the Jilin Shell Oil Shale Development Company Limited (Jilin Shell), will be 61% owned by Shell and 39% by Jilin Guangzheng Mineral Development Company Limited. (Earlier post.)
CPIC will use oil produced from the Jilin reserves to generate electricity. The company has also been trying to tap renewable energy sources, cashing in on the new opportunities brought about by China’s first renewable energy law, which will take effect next year.
The Beijing-based power generator signed a 3-billion yuan (US$369.9-million) agreement with Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd, China’s largest wind electric power generator manufacturer, for wind power plant construction projects in East and Northwest China.
The accord covers a 200-MW and 100-MW projects, both scheduled to start construction next year, with commercial operation likely to start in 2008. China by the end of this year will have wind power generation facilities with a capacity of 1,000 MW. The country plans to increase the figure to 30,000 MW by 2020.
The company has also reached agreements with the country’s two biggest nuclear reactor builders, China National Nuclear Corp and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, to start building four reactors in Liaoning and Shandong next year, a company official said.
By the end of last year, State-owned CPIC had power generation facilities with a total capacity of 27,959 MW. Coal-fired plants accounted for 66.97 per cent, hydro plants 28.2 per cent and the remaining 4.83 per cent consisted of nuclear plants.
nZEC. CPIC is also one of the groups cooperating in developing a near-zero emissions (nZEC) coal power plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This is a project analogous to the US’ FutureGen (earlier post).
CPIC, along with China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corp, China Guodian Corp, Shenhua Group (China’ biggest coal producer), State Development and Investment Corp, and China National Coal Group formed a new venture, the Green Coal Power Company, with a budget of 5.8 billion yuan (US$716 million), to participate in the nZEC project, which is a joint initiative with the UK.
Last week, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King formally signed the nZEC agreement in Beijing with Minister Xu Guangha, from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, which signals the start of the first phase of the project.
Carbon Capture and Storage offers the opportunity to reduce emissions per unit of electricity by 85%–90%, according to Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Successful development of near-Zero Emissions Coal plants and large-scale deployment of CCS in China could halve the country’s projected greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Some estimates forecast China surpassing the US as the top global CO2 emitter by 2015.
The partners are outlining a phased approach. The first phase will be a 3-year feasibility study, examining the viability of different technology options for the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation and the potential for geological storage in China, and leading towards a possible demonstration project starting up between 2010 and 2015. The UK is leading the first phase of the nZEC project, and supporting it with £3.5 million (US$6 million, Yuan 48.8 million) of funding (Defra £3m, DTI £0.5m). They hope to begin awarding contracts for the initial feasibility stage of the project in early 2006.
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