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China's first commercial CSP plant connected to grid


The Delingha 50 MWp thermal power plant constructed by CGN New Energy, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in the northwestern province of Qinghai was connected to the grid on June 30.

As China's first large commercial parabolic-trough CSP plant, it acts as a landmark in China's solar-thermal energy development, making China the eighth country in the world to have a large solar thermal power station.

Built on a sparsely populated plateau, 3,000 meters above sea level, the station occupies an area of 2.46 square kilometers (246 hectares).

With cold temperatures and oxygen deficiency problems on the plateau, CGN mapped out an implementation plan for solar and thermal technologies, which suited China’s environment, and also pioneered the injection of heat transfer oils step by step (while builders in other countries injected oils all at once), achieving success in construction of the world's highest-altitude solar thermal power station.

The main part of the project commenced construction in August 2015, and is the country’s first solar power plant connected to the power grid. It was also the first solar thermal power project that received a preferential loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Compared with photovoltaic power, the concentrated solar power (CSP) features continuous and steady generation of electricity, enjoying greater development potential.

The 50MW plant can reflect sunlight to a central receiver to heat water, which produces steam to power a turbine for generating electricity, ensuring stable and continuous power generation for 24 hours.

In addition to improving the stability of the regional power system, the project is expected to offer data support to China’s future large CSP projects in deserts, help the country accumulate construction, operation and management experience of solar thermal projects, and lay a solid foundation for building large CSP stations.

Qinghai has particularly favorable conditions for developing the new energy industry. The Delingha project also complemented Qinghai’s strategy of building a model province for green energy. Once the plant starts operations, it will slash standard coal use by 60,000 tons every year, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 100,000 tons, equivalent to the effect of planting trees in an area measuring 4,200 mu (280 hectares). Meanwhile, it will boost Qinghai’s economic development and optimize the local industrial structure.

At the 2018 China International CSP Station Conference, the Delingha project was recognized by the CSPPLAZA Awards for its contribution to boosting China’s solar and thermal industrial growth.

In addition, thanks to the project, CGN received approval to build a national research center for solar and thermal energy. The two projects will propel China’s CSP industry and play an exemplary role in the design of China’s trough-type solar and thermal power systems, R&D and setting standards.

The Delingha solar power plant has proved CGN’s capabilities in building large CSP plants, fostering the solar and thermal industrial chain and establishing industry standards. What’s more, it marked CGN’s further steps to advance the adjustment of the energy structure and promote environmental protection. As a major clean energy company in China, CGN will stick to the concept of green development and make a bigger contribution to improving China’s environment in the future.