Guest Editorial: Special Issue on Low-Carbon Electricity

Sustainability and sustainable energy are hot topics in environmental protection, and are also the second theme of Earth Week 2017. We are honored to welcome the Guest Editor-in-Chief of the special issue for the Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy to talk about how "Low-Carbon Electricity" can help save our planet.

Chongqing Kang
Chongqing Kang

Global warming has been one of the most serious worldwide problems for a long time. The development of human civilization has been heavily dependent on the increasing demand of power source. A very large proportion of carbon emissions are generated by the electric power industry from fossil fuel combustion. Therefore, the development of low-carbon electricity is imperative to achieve sustainable development of the power industry.

Low-carbon electricity faces both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, the power industry is a major source of carbon emissions; on the other hand, power sectors could be the main contributor of carbon emission reduction. Therefore, a low-carbon power system is bound to play a unique role with the development of low-carbon society all over the world.

Development of low-carbon electricity is inseparable from the support of all kinds of new technologies. With the efforts of both academia and industry, new types of low-carbon electricity technologies emerge, mushrooming from the traditional thermal power sector to renewable energy. The construction of pilot carbon trading, the demonstration of carbon capture power plant and other aspects of low-carbon technologies have achieved initial results. Even the low-carbon electricity technology has broad development potential; it is still in its infancy, which means more types of low-carbon electricity technologies have yet to be fully explored. Low-carbon electricity has become a hot issue with the development of the global power industry.

40565I am honored to be invited as the Guest Editor-in-Chief of the special issue for Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy (MPCE) on “Low-Carbon Electricity”. With the inclusion of 15 papers, this special issue focuses on strategies, mechanisms, techniques and methods of low-carbon development of the power industry, showing the latest research progress of both domestic and international scholars on low-carbon electricity. This Special Issue has a wide variety of paper sources, covering universities, research institutions and power companies. Except for 9 domestic papers, there are 6 papers from overseas, including the United States, Japan, Australia, Denmark and India.

The papers in this special issue covers four areas.

1. Planning of low-carbon power system

Prof. Ravikumar Bhimasingu and his student Y. V. Pavan Kumar from Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, present a cost-effective and environment-friendly hybrid power system model for buildings. With a case study based on the practical data of a building located in southern India, the application of the model is demonstrated to be efficient in both cost-saving and reduction of CO2 emissions.

In the study by Australian scholars Prof. Zhaoyang Dong, Prof. Kit Po Wong, and Jing Qiu, a risk-based probabilistic transmission expansion planning model considering carbon pricing policies and uncertainties in electricity market is proposed. The model is characterized by a chance-constrained load curtailment index and a novel hybrid iteration algorithm to solve the formulations of multistage dynamic programming problem.

In order to achieve the abatement of CO2 emissions, power system is expected to operate in high penetration of renewable energy, which forces the transmission companies to take uncertainties of renewable energy generation into consideration when making strategic plans. Based on this point of view, Prof. Yi Ding and Chunyu Zhang from Technical University of Denmark proposed a stochastic multi-period multi-objective transmission planning model to reduce correlated uncertainties from renewable energy generation, conventional generation, demand-side variations, market price volatility and transmission configuration.

The development of different kinds of renewable resources plays an important role in low-carbon economy. An open question is to plan the quantities and the proportions of the investment for those resources. Therefore, a bi-level formulation is presented by Prof. Yue Yuan and Yang Cao from Hohai University, China to optimize the proportion of wind and PV capacity for provincial power systems, in which the carbon emissions of generator units and features of renewable resources are both taken into account.

2. Dispatch of low-carbon power systems

Various kinds of new engineering technologies have been introduced into power systems for the low-carbon and integration purpose of sustainable energy. In actual implementation of these technologies, there are multiple objectives as well as various constraints. Prof. Yokoyama and Mr. Ken Kuroda from Waseda University, Japan proposed an improved method of multi-objective optimization for critical challenges to realize advanced power systems.

Wind generation is considered as one of the major solutions to provide low-carbon energy. The wind-power operators participating in energy market inevitably meet the competition among the generation companies. In the study by Dr. Hao Huang from Customized Energy Solutions in Philadelphia, USA and Prof. Fangxing Li from University of Tennessee, USA, a biding strategy is modeled and solved as a bi-level optimization problem, which aims at maximizing individual generation company’s profit.

Prof. Jinyu Wen and Mr. Jiaming Li from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China proposed a stochastic unit commitment model to meet the low-carbon operation requirement and to cope with wind power prediction errors.

As an important technology for smart grid, demand response could make the power network more flexible in accommodating renewable low-carbon power resources. The study by Songsong Chen and Huaguang Yan from China Electric Power Research Institute focuses on automated demand response systems architecture and residential customer’s auto-demand response technology roadmap.

3. Stability and control of low-carbon power systems

The integration of a significant amount of wind generation into a power system could reduce the total system inertia, thus influencing the system frequency. To analyze this effect, Prof. John Ning Jiang and Di Wu from University of Oklahoma, USA present a preliminary study of the distribution impact of the inertia contributions from the online synchronous generators on the rate of frequency change based on the total fault energy injected into the system.

If being cooperated with an integrated battery energy storage system, wind farms can smooth the intermittent power output, and therefore become more reliable in renewable energy supplying. The study by Prof. Gangui Yan from Northeast Dianli University, China focuses on the development of a control strategy to optimize the coordination of multiple energy storage systems to accelerate the adoption of wind energy resources.

The coordination between electric vehicles and wind power generations is known to be of benefit for system operation. However, it could complicate the conception and the characteristic of voltage stability. In order to solve this problem, a relevant preventive control strategy aiming at maintaining the static voltage stability margin of power system above a predefined security level is proposed by Prof. Hongjie Jia and Mr. Mingshen Wang from Tianjin University, China.

Prof. Weisheng Wang and Shuo Yang from China Electric Power Research Institute proposed an optimal reactive power dispatch strategy of clustered wind power plants considering the static voltage stability for low-carbon power system. It is valuable to reduce the voltage instability caused by both the random fluctuations of active power output and the irrational regulations of reactive power compensation equipment in large-scale wind power integrated regions.

4. Performance evaluation of a low-carbon power system

Prof. Chongqing Kang and Dr. Xiaoming Dong from Tsinghua University, China proposed a scheme to estimate the energy consumption in constructing an overhead transmission line, and another scheme to estimate the energy consumption in operation. With the definition of energy pay and energy payback ratio, it is feasible to evaluate the contribution of constructing a new transmission line for energy conservation in life-cycle.

The response mechanism of industrial loads is expected to provide ancillary services to cooperate the wind power generation, through analyzing the production process and electricity consumption distribution, Prof. Zhaoguang Hu from State Grid of Energy Research Institute, China and Mingtao Yao from Beijing Jiaotong University, China investigated the industrial users’ response characteristics involving the ancillary service type and the response capacity of cement and electrolytic aluminum.

Prof. Shaoyun Ge from Tianjin University, China proposed a pseudo-sequential Monte Carlo simulation method for the low-carbon benefit evaluation of distribution system including distributed wind turbines, solar array and battery energy storage system. The presented model is demonstrated to be valuable for the analysis of DG penetration distribution networks.

About the Author

Chongqing Kang is the Professor of Electrical Engineering Department of Tsinghua University since 2005. He is currently the Chairman of Executive Committee of the department. His research interest focuses on power system planning, power system operation, renewable energy, low carbon electricity technology, load forecasting and electric market.

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