China’s Qinghai province runs on renewables for 216 hours

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China’s northwestern Qinghai Province taps internet-of-things to run for seven straight days entirely on renewable energy.

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Chinese workers check solar photovoltaic modules on a hillside in a village in Chuzhou, in eastern China's Anhui province on April 13, 2017. Solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, are a key player in the fast-growing renewable energy sector, which also includes water- and wind-generated electricity. Unlike energy from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, the generation of electricity by so-called photovoltaic (PV) panels does not release planet-harming carbon dioxide. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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As the rest of the world struggles to come to terms with delivering renewable energy policies and investment, China’s northwestern Qinghai Province successfully ran for seven straight days entirely on renewable energy.

Various reports over the past fortnight, starting with an article in China’s state-run media outlet, Xinhua News Agency, have reported the province ran for 7 straight days (17 to 23 June ) – or for as long as 9 days (216 hours) over 20 to 28 June, depending on news outlets and sources – using only renewable energy sources, including hydro, wind, and solar power.

According to Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind, the province used “short and ultra-short-term power forecasts” to prioritise clean energy in an effort to maximise consumption.

This was no fluke or accident, either, as Qinghai Province was conducting a trial by the State Grid Corporation of China to test the potential of relying on renewable energy over long periods of time. During the 9 days, the province generated 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours of energy for in excess of 5.6 million residents.

The trial was successfully accomplished using an Internet of Things (IoT) tool called the Qinghai New Energy Big Data Innovation Platform – a platform designed in partnership between State Grid Qinghai Electric Power Company, Goldwind, the Innovation Centre for Industrial Big Data, Tsinghua University, and other strategic partners.

The Platform is able to monitor renewable energy sources over as many as 40 power generators and gathers 60 gigabytes (GB) of data every day to analyse conditions, while saving labour costs and improving efficiency.

Though known primarily for its heavy reliance on coal, China is nevertheless one of the world’s leading generators of renewable energy, and boasts significant levels of hydropower, solar, and wind energy. At the end of June, China’s National Energy Administration announced that the country had installed 24.3 GW worth of new solar in the first half of the year, bringing its cumulative total up to 154.51 GW.

The country is also expected to have a total of 210 GW worth of wind energy by 2020 – while the province of Qinghai has approximately 85 GW worth of wind power installed.

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