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The fifth anniversary of the electricity reform 2020-03-26


I. Status of coal power participation in the power market

 

In March 2015, "Several Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Further Deepening the Reform of the Electric Power System" (Zhongfa [2015] No. 9) was promulgated. Focusing on "three releases, one independence, three reinforcements". The reform of the power system has moved forward with twists and turns, and progress has been gradually made under the premise of a clear reform direction, but it still lags behind the set goals.

 

The reform of the power system is progressing rapidly. After the completion of the trading markets in various regions, market-based transactions will take various forms. At present, two regional-level trading centers and 33 provincial-level power trading institutions have been formed nationwide. There are more than 4,000 electricity sales companies registered with power trading institutions nationwide. All eight power spot market construction trials have started mock trial operations. The current "market-based trading" of electricity uses bilateral negotiation, centralized bidding, and listing transactions as the main methods, and introduces a "deviation power" assessment mechanism to evaluate the contract power and actual power outside the scope. Among them, the annual transaction mainly adopts bilateral negotiation (the price of the off-exchange bilateral contract is determined by the buyer and the buyer through negotiation), and the monthly transaction mainly adopts the centralized bidding (the two methods of unified clearing and matching) and the listed transaction (the transaction price is determined by the listed price) ). In addition to the "direct transactions" in the province, there are also inter-provincial and inter-regional transactions, and contract power transfer transactions. In addition, some provinces (regions) have organized power generation rights transfer transactions to replace coal-fired power generation by market-based methods with renewable energy or lower energy consumption units.

 

The scale of the trading power in the national market has been continuously expanding, and the trading power price has clearly shown benefits. With the continuous deepening of the electricity reform, market-oriented trading power continues to increase, from 14.3% of the total electricity consumption in the market in 2015 to 30.1% in 2019. In 2019, various types of power trading centers organized by the country The total amount of trading power is 2,844.4 billion kWh (the province's mid- and long-term trading power accounts for 81%, and the inter-provincial trading power accounts for 19%). Each type of unit chooses to compete for market share at a price lower than the benchmark on-grid electricity price. In 2016, the country's average electricity consumption per kWh decreased by 6.4 cents (equivalent to a decrease of 1.216 points in total electricity consumption). This has led to an increase in the cost of electricity, but the annual market electricity transaction price has still dropped by an average of 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, reducing the cost of electricity used by enterprises by 68 billion yuan. At the same time, the electricity prices of market-based transactions in various places have fallen to varying degrees from the benchmark on-grid electricity prices approved by the government. Shanxi, Jilin, Liaoning, and Yunnan provinces have seen significant declines in electricity prices. According to the data from the China Electricity Enterprise Federation, about 50% of the electricity price of coal-fired power generation on-grid electricity has been formed through market transactions. In 2018, the national electricity price of some coal-fired electricity participating in market-oriented transactions was lower than the average rate of benchmark coal-fired electricity prices. 11.24%.

 

However, the overall development of the power market is insufficient, and the marketization process lags behind the established goals. The reform of electricity marketization has achieved positive results, but "short-term and instant transactions are realized through dispatching and trading institutions" has not yet been effectively implemented, and the construction of a competitive electricity market is still in the exploratory stage. The National Energy Administration puts forward the goal of achieving marketization of 100% of industrial electricity consumption in 2018 and the full release of commercial electricity consumption in 2020. The current market-oriented transaction ratio is 30.1%, which is far from reaching The goal of 100% release of industrial electricity consumption. The eight spot market trials have only begun trial operation, and there are still many places to explore and improve in the construction of the spot market.

 

 Changes in the market-based pricing mechanism will advance the process of market-oriented electricity. The executive meeting of the State Council decided to remove the coal-electricity price linkage mechanism from January 1, 2020, and change the benchmark on-grid electricity price mechanism to a "benchmark price + floating up and down" marketization mechanism. During the transition period, the benchmark price is determined according to the current local grid-connected electricity price for coal-fired power generation. The floating range is up to 10%, and the principle is not to exceed 15%. The National Development and Reform Commission will timely determine the benchmark price and the range of floating range according to market development. With adjustment, the price reform reflects the urgency and firmness of market-oriented reforms. The "benchmark price + floating up and down" mechanism is formed by the market mechanism, not the government's price adjustment behavior, but the price after voluntary transactions between market entities, which is conducive to the coordinated development of the upstream and downstream industries of coal power and its market, which can truly and effectively reflect electricity Production costs and power demand elasticity. The scope of power price concessions will be extended from large users to small and medium-sized users, creating favorable conditions for 50% of coal-fired power generation and grid-connected electricity that has not yet entered the market to enter the market, and will increase the degree of market-based electricity trading.

 

Twenty-two, the predicament of coal power and power market reform

 

As the "pioneer" of the market-oriented reform of water and electricity, coal power has entered the industry transformation under the combined pressure of multiple factors (low-carbon transformation, environmental protection, high coal prices, overcapacity, and giving way to new energy). Deep water period. During the "13th Five-Year Plan" period, the coal power policy was tightened, but the growth scale of coal power was still very high (136 million kilowatts of new capacity was installed between 2016 and 2019). As coal power companies' losses intensified, "administrative promotion-oriented and insufficient market power The effect of structural reforms on the coal-supply side is becoming weaker. In addition, the early warning of “full green” of coal power planning and construction makes it easy for the coal power construction boom to be re-enacted, exacerbating overcapacity, and letting previous efforts go to waste.

 

Yancoal's transformation from the main role of power generation to the equal emphasis on power generation and eventually to system services is gradually becoming a consensus. In the process of transformation and upgrading, the pain of the coal power industry was directly manifested in the deterioration of corporate profitability, large-scale losses and even a wave of bankruptcy and liquidation. In recent years, the long-term high operation of coal prices, overcapacity and market competition caused by the decline in the utilization hours of coal-fired generating units and the pressure of “power price reduction” policies have caused some coal power companies to have serious inversions in power generation costs and on-grid electricity prices. In 2017, the thermal power sector of the five major power generation groups lost nearly 13.2 billion yuan. In 2018, the losses of thermal power enterprises were close to 50%, and the asset-liability ratio of the power generation group was at a high level of 78%. The huge financial expenses eroded the current profit. On February 18, 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration issued the "Implementation Opinions on Promoting the Independent and Standardized Operation of Electricity Trading Institutions", which directly provided quantitative share ratios and work schedules on the requirements of independent operation of trading institutions. . This is an important signal, which indicates that the reform of electricity marketization has entered a "combat period" from a "transition period" and is no longer confined to the "little bets" in the pilot areas. Instead, it is necessary to effectively promote market mechanisms and improve their implementation. Is there still room for pressure in the coal-fired power industry with overcapacity to encounter the "real fire" of market-oriented reforms? Can coal-fired power companies that have not done a good job of transformation make correct judgments on long-term investment based on the reform process?

 

Under the current market-oriented reform environment for electricity, the coal power industry is no longer “drought-flood-guaranteed”, but has shown a polarization of gains and losses. In the past, coal-fired power generation units enjoyed planned power generation. After the reform of the power generation and utilization plan was promoted, the planned power generation was reduced (Zhongfa No. 9 stipulated that, according to the degree of market development, directly traded power generation and capacity are no longer included in the power generation and utilization plan), Subsequent new coal power units did not give power generation plans in principle, coupled with excess coal power capacity and making way for new energy sources, many units, especially old and inefficient units, struggled to obtain revenue guarantee hours, and unit utilization rates fell sharply. After the spot market opened, as new energy units joined the bidding sequence and lowered the electricity transaction price determined in accordance with the principle of marginal clearance, this formed a squeeze effect on high coal-consuming units, thereby truly achieving "clean units replacing polluting units and efficient unit replacement. "Inefficient unit" energy-saving scheduling. However, China's spot market has not yet run, and the price guidance signal is lacking to form a positive incentive. Under normal circumstances, it is impossible to obtain the expected benefits in the competition of the power market, and the backward enterprises are bound to be eliminated, so as to make room for power generation. However, the actual situation is that these enterprises rely on the parent company's "blood transfusion" to maintain their survival, that is, they have formed a de facto "zombie enterprise", which continues to occupy valuable power generation space and disrupt the market competition order. This is undoubtedly contrary to the laws of economic operation and will drag down the process of power market reform.

 

The auxiliary service market is also an important part of the market-oriented reform of electricity. Coal-fired generating units that cannot be cleared in the spot market to obtain a share of power generation can in turn provide auxiliary services for gains. However, China's auxiliary service market mechanism is not perfect, and the coal-fired power flexibility reform progressed by the policy is progressing slowly, and it is difficult to complete the 220 million kilowatts reform target set during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. The current auxiliary service market mostly uses the compensation and allocation mechanism, but the pricing mechanism is unreasonable. The compensation and sharing mechanism causes the compensation standard for auxiliary services to accurately reflect the scarce value of auxiliary services. In the absence of adjustments in the spot market, Changing electricity prices cannot be accurately priced and will further distort the prices of ancillary services. Therefore, the auxiliary service market must first clarify the sharing costs of grid connection costs in different periods, clarify the market “rights” and “obligations” of each power generation entity, and determine the pricing standards for each interval according to the type of service and contribution provided by the unit.

 

3. The way out for coal power transformation under the reform of the electricity market

 

一 (I) Real-time electricity price mechanism effectively reduces the cost of power generation and accumulates the material basis for reform dividends

 

The implementation of the "three public" scheduling rules over the years has made it impossible for the unit to reflect the difference in operating efficiency during the scheduling process. The guarantee of basic generation hours allows generating units with low operating efficiency and high emission levels to still obtain considerable income. Under the electricity market reform, electricity prices will be discovered through the spot market. Generators will bid on the basis of short-term operating costs of generating units, and then the system will dispatch generating units based on the unit's quoted cost, and give priority to units with low marginal costs. According to the principle of marginal clearance, after the renewable energy unit joins the bidding sequence, it will be prioritized due to its low operating cost. The operating cost of backward units is higher, and they are usually dispatched last. This promotes the extrusion of high coal consumption units. It can be seen that the spot market is properly designed and can guide the units to achieve “clean units instead of polluting units and high efficiency units instead of low efficiency. "Units" economic dispatch, real-time electricity prices will become one of the effective means to economically and effectively promote the connection of a high proportion of renewable energy to the grid, reduce the abandonment rate, and simultaneously reduce the system power supply costs and electricity prices. At the same time, the real-time electricity price reflects the time difference of electrical energy products, and transmits the production cost of electricity and the market wholesale price signal to the end consumers. It can also guide consumers to use less electricity during peak hours and more electricity during low times. Under economic dispatch, it may further open the price barriers solidified between provinces, and further optimize the current flow in space. When real-time prices rise, electricity will naturally flow from the surplus area to the scarce area, which can alleviate the mismatch between resources and demand between regions. The real-time electricity price truly reflects the supply and demand relationship of electricity commodities in time and space, guides the generation and consumption of resources in response to market fluctuations, enhances the power system's peak regulation ability, and eases congestion, making resource allocation more effective, which can release effective investment signals and restrain Reasonable demand for new coal-fired power units, while digging out the system value of load demand response.

 

Therefore, coal power companies need to correctly judge the reform direction from a global perspective. During the transformation of the energy revolution, the development requirements of Beautiful China must be marketization and cleanliness. Coal power companies should predict that the space for new power generation will be mainly met by clean energy. Building less or no coal power is a long-term plan to stop losses in a timely manner. Based on its own advantages, it is necessary to position all kinds of coal-fired electric machines in combination, grasp the strategic opportunity period of optimization and adjustment of power supply structure, complete technical transformation to release more flexible resources, and seek for the development space of existing coal-fired power units in the future power market.

 

二 (2) Flexible auxiliary service products guide the scientific adjustment and positioning of some coal power units

 

At present, coal power still occupies an important position in China's energy system. The existing power system is also a system with coal power as the main power source structure and poor flexibility. However, it is still necessary to rely on large-scale development of renewable energy to achieve this. Energy production and consumption revolution. In recent years, with the increasing proportion of renewable energy power generation in China, the flexibility requirements of power systems will also increase. Because the output of renewable energy is fluctuating, after it enters the system, the up and down changes of the system output become more frequent and more important. With the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, the problem of insufficient power system regulation means has become increasingly prominent. The original auxiliary service plan compensation model and intensity have been unable to meet grid operation requirements. This requires accelerating the construction of the electric power spot market, and also requires the coal-fired generating units undertaking the base load to make a comprehensive and comprehensive adjustment from the market mechanism, profit model, technical concept to unit operation. The existing auxiliary service products in China are mainly peak shaving. However, after the establishment of the electricity spot market, peak shaving auxiliary services can gradually withdraw from the market and replace with more efficient flexible auxiliary service products, such as flexible climbing products. Products that can quickly provide up and down adjustment capabilities in a short time. This requires some coal-fired power units to adjust their own functions, from base load supply to guaranteeing system flexibility. The state has accelerated the elimination of backward coal power units with a capacity of 300,000 kilowatts or less from 2018. Therefore, the 300,000 to 600,000 kilowatt subcritical units in the future should scientifically and rationally play a role of flexible auxiliary services to achieve the transition from power-type units to power-type units. Unit conversion; while conventional pure condensing units with a long operating life of 200,000 kilowatts and below, those that meet energy efficiency and environmental protection standards should gradually transition to standby and auxiliary service units, and those that do not meet energy efficiency and environmental protection standards should gradually withdraw from the market. In addition to the research on deep peak shaving related technologies that reduce the minimum technical output of coal-fired power plants, power generation companies should also increase the load climbing rate, shorten the start-stop time of coal power, increase the performance of AGC frequency modulation systems, and improve coal-fired power plants as systems The ability to flexibly serve to adapt to the development of large-scale renewable energy in the future and the auxiliary service market after the establishment of the electricity spot market.

 

三 (3) Long-term capacity mechanism releases medium- and long-term price signals to guide investment transformation

 

In the context of the low-carbon transition, new credible power generation capacity and flexible resources (including energy storage devices) will be needed in the future to ensure that sufficient backup is provided while coping with the intermittent characteristics of low-carbon clean power. The implementation of the capacity market is mainly because the experience of countries around the world shows that a single power market often cannot stimulate sufficient power generation investment to ensure resource adequacy, especially when the market's maximum price limit is depressed. In short, if the upper limit of scarce prices in the electricity market is too low and demand response cannot always meet reliability standards, it is necessary to establish a capacity market to ensure that generators can recover fixed costs. From the perspective of full marketization in the medium and long term, obtaining power generation revenue based on the spot market bidding rules alone cannot make up for the full cost of the standby unit. China's special national conditions and the experience of power market mechanisms in various countries around the world have determined the necessity of introducing a capacity mechanism in China. Power generation entities obtain corresponding benefits from the spot market and the capacity market in accordance with their respective functions, and play the role of "market power" under the regulatory mechanism to truly restore the commodity attributes of electricity while taking into account the commodity characteristics of "real-time balance" of electricity.

 

  China's power supply structure is diverse. It is necessary to fully consider factors such as the difference in the cost of existing power supplies and the need for structural adjustment of incremental power supplies to design a capacity incentive mechanism to make up for the lack of market competition due to the required capacity due to high costs and uncertain returns. In the United States, there are many gas units that can be quickly adjusted. In addition, the load peak-valley difference is small, and the capacity market peak pressure is small. However, China's power structure is mainly coal-fired, and its ability to quickly start and stop in a short time is limited. In order to vigorously develop renewable electricity, it is necessary to conduct in-depth research and design of a capacity market mechanism that meets China's actual needs. In recent years, one point that has often been criticized in policy discussions on renewable energy is that China lacks sufficient flexibility in the US and European power systems, especially gas and electricity resources. Of course there are problems in terms of resources and technology, but the essence of the problem is actually a question of institutional mechanisms. If there is a reasonable mechanism to ensure that flexible resources have a reasonable return in the market, why worry that the market will not invest in these resources?

 

I should dialectically view the adjustment of coal power positioning and its system value. Existing coal power capacity should be fully utilized, through the policy to gradually establish and improve the capacity market, guide coal power to actively participate in peaking and other ancillary services, and strengthen support for new energy consumption. It should be pointed out that the capacity mechanism is not a “loss compensation” mechanism for excess inventory or inefficient coal-fired generating units, but a fair and effective economic incentive mechanism for the resources necessary to meet the adequacy of power resources. At the same time, in the transformation process, the applicability of the important evaluation index of thermal power utilization hours in the new situation should be reviewed, considering the adjustment and change of coal power positioning, and establishing coal power including services such as power generation, auxiliary services, and capacity supply Role evaluation mechanism.

 

For China's power market, although the capacity market is not included in the focus of the power market construction at this stage, it is still necessary to establish a capacity mechanism. Due to the unpredictability of load forecasting, the emergence of high electricity prices in extreme cases in the long run is an inevitable event (such as the extremely high electricity prices in Germany during Christmas in recent years). In the short term, the target capacity mechanism represented by the strategic reserve is applicable to the Chinese power market. This is because China's current power supply exceeds demand and there are a large number of old units. The strategic reserve capacity mechanism can be used as a reasonable path for the old units to exit the power market. In the long run, the market-wide capacity mechanism is more suitable for China's more complicated power market. Compared with administrative control, market-based capacity can better promote the stable and orderly development of the capacity market and help form a sound and reasonable power market. At the same time, the situation of power supply and demand varies greatly among provinces in China. The design of the power market cannot be generalized. The direction of capacity market construction should be determined according to the different conditions of each province.


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