Following deliberation on the request for a change in the I-REC for electricity issuance criteria in China, the I-REC Standard Foundation Board has decided to conduct a consultation to determine the path forward related to the proposed change in issuance criteria in China.
The Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Shandong have implemented policies to allow for a more liberalized power market that is like other energy markets like in the US and Europe. In general, the electricity generators in these provinces should be able to participate in a spot market or forward sell physical electricity via PPAs as concepts such as wheeling fees are well-defined and implemented in these two regions. However, this has raised questions from large electricity generators in the country of whether the I-REC Standard will relax rules in China as a recognition of the desire to liberalize local and regional electricity markets.
The I-REC Standard secretariat broadly supports this idea pending a consultation of market parties. As a result, the Board approved a consultation to determine future issuance criteria for state-owned entities (SOE) and non-SOEs.
Background on the renewable spot trading market and boarder liberalisation
On the 15th of March 2015, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council issued several opinions on Reforming the Electric Power System (Document No.9) as part of a new round of the broader energy sector reform. These reforms aim to establish a competitive energy market structure and gradually separate electricity sales from power transmission and distribution (see I-REC Standard Country assessment report-China 2020).
In August 2017, following the central policy to liberalize power pricing, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Agency (NEA) jointly released a policy to establish eight (8) real-time spot electricity markets in the south of China, starting with Guangdong as pilot, and followed by markets in west, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Fujian, Sichuan, and Gansu province/regions. Then in August 2018, the South China Energy Regulatory Office of the NEA issued a call for comments for the “Rules for the Real-time Spot Electricity Market in South of China (Guangdong),” which are the first detailed rules for a spot electricity market design in China. Following this release, Shandong announced similar rules with trial sport trading in June 2020. If a cross-region electricity market could be established, which is not currently the case, it would be expected to break up the interprovince barriers for renewable electricity transaction and greatly help dispatch the excess wind and solar PV power generated from the provinces with abundant renewable resources and capacity.
In May 2019, the Establishment and Improvement of the Mechanism for Guaranteeing the Consumption of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources was announced and would become effective from 2020. This established mandatory annual renewable consumption targets for each province in China. This policy is broadly interpreted as a Chinese Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) under which the grid companies, electricity retailers, electricity buyers in the wholesale market, and captive power generation are required to fulfill the renewable energy consumption target and meet province-wide responsibilities.
To further promote the integration of renewable energy in the power market, provincial governments have developed detailed implementation plans. And on the 16th of November 2020, the Guangdong Provincial Energy Administration issued the notice on the call for comments on the Implementation Plan of Renewable Energy Power Consumption Guarantee (already approved on 26 February 2021 and will be effective on 1 April 2021) and comments on the Implementation Plan of Renewable Energy Power Transaction in Guangdong Province. These plans clearly state that the centralized wind and solar projects can participate in spot trading markets in Guangdong but also as part of a broader liberalization of power sales with wheeling fees and more flexibility to electricity generators. Similarly, on the 24th of November 2020, the Shandong governments released a notice on the progress towards liberalized electricity market trading in Shandong for 2021 stating that the centralized renewable energy power generation projects will be free to participate in spot or other energy trades starting in 2021
The necessity to open the I-REC market to the non-SEO in China
In September 2020, China announced its goal to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030 and aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. To achieve the established targets, China has vigorously promoted the development of renewable energy through mechanisms such as the pilot spot renewable power trading markets in Guangdong and Shandong. In these markets, all generators, regardless of them being a state-owned entity (SOE), can participate in the newly liberalized market. This conflicts with the current I-REC Standard regulations that only allow for the participation of SOEs. However, stakeholders have approached the I-REC Standard Foundation secretariat with this conflict in these rules and have asked the secretariat to revisit the issuance guidelines for the Guangdong and Shandong provinces. The broadly defined proposal among stakeholders will allow for the issuance of both SOEs and non-SOEs in these provinces in China.
Consultation – Ends 3rd of May 2021
Through this form, stakeholders are requested to fill in their opinions related to the expansion of issuance regulations in China. This form explains further questions the Foundation has related to the issuance criteria. Stakeholders are also able to request interviews for the consultation. All stakeholders can respond in either Chinese or English and interviews can be conducted in either language. For more information or to request an interview please contact the secretariat. Stakeholders are requested to complete the consultation before May 1, 2021.
为进一步推进可再生能源电力交易市场建设，中国地方政府相继出台了相关政策。2020年11月16日，广东省能源局发布关于征求《广东省可再生能源电力消纳保障实施方案》（征求意见稿）(已于2021年3月批准，并于4月1日开始正式实施) 和《广东省可再生能源电力交易实施方案》（征求意见稿）意见的通告。实施方案明确表示引入集中式风电和光伏企业开展电力交易, 同时也为推进可再生能源市场化电力交易提供更多的灵活性。同样，山东省也在2020年11月24日下发《关于做好2021年全省电力市场交易有关工作的通知》，鼓励具备条件的集中式新能源发电企业自2021年起自愿进入电力市场参与交易