Hydropower industry: “Heroes behind the scenes” in the clean energy blueprint

[Chinese Instrument Network Encyclopedia Knowledge] Some people may think that hydropower has become a “coot” in the energy field, but in fact, as a regulator of fluctuating wind power generation, hydropower is more like a “hero behind the scenes” in the clean energy blueprint. But how to define hydropower? Has hydropower currently reached saturation levels in China? What are the investment opportunities for generating units in the “post-hydro era”? GE's acquisition of Alstom affects the hydropower industry? This article has solved the above problems by combining large amounts of data with cases from Germany, Japan, and the United States.

What is hydroelectric power?

The Dongwo hydropower station built in Sichuan in 1925 uses GE's hydroelectric generating units and is still operating normally.

What is hydroelectric power?

Hydroelectric power is a science and technology that studies technical and economic issues such as engineering construction and production operations that convert water energy into electrical energy. The hydroelectric power station is a power station that uses the kinetic energy of the powerful water flow generated by the water level difference to generate electricity. Hydroelectric generating units are power generating equipment that uses water to generate electricity and are the core components of hydroelectric power stations. Mainly by the turbine, the generator consists of two parts.

Where is the hydropower particularly?

Clean: Water is a renewable and free source of clean energy. It uses only the energy given by nature, does not consume water, and does not produce pollution. The proportion of fixed costs in the total investment is relatively high, but the operating cost is low, the sales customer determines, the payment is timely, and the profitability is stable.

Stability: On the one hand, the hydroelectric power generation is stable. Compared with natural resources such as sunshine and wind, the runoff of the river is uniform and stable, with seasonal characteristics. The flood season is just at the peak of electricity consumption, so that the power generated by the power plant also produces a linear output. On the other hand, water energy has a reserve. Electricity is an instant consumption, so far, there are no good large batteries available. Hydropower plants can be used through appropriate geographical locations to form reservoirs for regulating reservoirs. Make it the best power grid power supply.

Environmental protection: Hydroelectric power is a renewable energy source with less impact on the environment. In addition to providing low-cost power over long periods of time, it also has the following advantages: it controls flooding, provides irrigation water, and improves river navigation. Related projects can also improve traffic, power supply and economy in the region, and can even develop tourism and aquaculture. .

The current situation and misunderstanding of hydropower resources in China The second survey of water conservancy resources completed by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2005 showed that there are 3,886 rivers with a theoretical hydropower resource of more than 10 MW, and the theoretical reserves of hydraulic resources are 690 million KW; the technologically exploitable amount is 5.4. Million KW, the annual power generation capacity is 247.4 billion KW·H; the economically exploitable capacity is 400 million KW, and the annual power generation is 1.7534 trillion KW·H. However, at present, there are several errors in the development of hydropower resources:

1 The theoretical reserves do not equal the amount of economic development that determines the conditions under which a river can be developed. The most important are the following two points:

Large amounts of water or large gaps (ie, large potential energy) become a key factor in controlling the installed capacity of power plants. After screening, in China, with the exception of the Yellow River upstream, northeast and part of small hydropower stations along the coast, the main hydropower resources with economic development value are mostly concentrated in the central and western regions.

The overall cost becomes a key constraint. First of all, we must pay attention to the cost of construction. Even if it is a good water resource, if there is no reasonable construction cost control, it will not have the development value. Second, with the development of the economy, due to the compensation problems caused by land acquisition, immigration, and reservoir submergence, the cost control of new construction projects will face further difficulties. In addition, due to the huge size of the hydropower equipment and the inconvenience caused by the inconvenience of transportation in some remote mountainous areas, many resources are also excluded from the list of recent developments. For example, if the Brahmaputra is undergoing overall development, only one of the pre-highway roads will be used for investment. Billion yuan in magnitude.

2 The total amount of China's technological development is approaching the limit According to the statistics of the China Electric Power Enterprise Association, by the end of December 2014, the national installed capacity of hydropower has reached approximately 280 million kilowatts. In addition to the approximately 9 million KWs in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, about 18.18 million KWs in the middle reaches of the Jinsha River, and about 26.2 million KWs in the downstream, there are also 13 million KW in the Yalong River Basin and approximately 17 million KW in the Dadu River Basin. , 37 million KW of Qijiang River, 21.32 million KW of Nu River, etc., totaling nearly 140 million KW, a total of 420 million KW, even exceeding the total planned economic development of 400 million KW. If we add nearly 100 million KW Tibet hydropower clusters represented by the trunk of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (50 million KW), the total amount of technological development in our country will have reached the limit.

Therefore, hydropower resources are generally sustainable, but the hydropower resources are limited.

3 The total amount of technological development will be transformed into economic development resources. With the improvement of the planning level and the refinement of relevant resource survey work, the total amount of technological development is being transformed into a resource point with certain economic development value. However, the total water resources system in our country is determined, and the change in total installed capacity does not represent the same proportion of total electricity generation. With the completion of major hydropower development in the major provinces, the speed and effectiveness of the transformation will depend more on transportation and electricity grids. , electricity prices and other objective factors.

Therefore, in China, incremental development of low-cost hydropower is nearing completion.

How to invest in the "post-hydro era"?

According to China's existing total electricity supply and economic growth rate, Cinda Securities R&D Center predicts that by 2020, China's total installed capacity of electric power will be around 1.7 to 1.8 billion kilowatts.

In the "China-US Joint Statement" on November 12, 2014, China first officially proposed that China's carbon emissions are expected to reach a peak around 2030, and plans to raise the proportion of non-fossil energy in primary energy to 20% by 2030. According to this calculation and the preliminary thinking of the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan”, the total installed capacity of hydropower will reach 350 million in 2020, wind power will reach 200 million (double the plan of 12.5), and the photoelectricity will reach 100 million (five times the plan of 12.5). Nuclear power will reach 58 million kilowatts.

If we proceed with the current planning and development, by 2020, we will not have large-scale new construction of conventional thermal power, and with the rapid increase of wind power and optoelectronics in place, due to the natural defects of our own technology, there will be a huge demand for peak shaving. . For example, Germany, as a leader in new energy development, due to the accumulation of relevant experience and disciplines, the German government has vigorously promoted the photovoltaic power generation capacity after withdrawing from all nuclear power, eventually resulting in an imbalance in power supply, and is now forced to re-plan the construction of new thermal power plants. To meet the needs of the community.

Hydropower, on the other hand, is the main solution for peak regulation. In this regard, the hydropower sector needs to improve the market pricing mechanism as soon as possible to encourage the construction of hydropower stations with regulatory capabilities. We will increase the depth of planning work, deepen the intensity of resource investigations, and tap new resources as much as possible on the basis of scientific environmental protection. It is necessary to actively promote the reform of electricity prices, encourage private capital to invest in energy storage projects, and actively develop UHV technology to promote energy conservation and emission reduction. Finally, we will jointly solve problems on the two levels of power supply and peak load supply. In addition, it is necessary to renovate and upgrade the existing old power stations and use the latest operational ideas and equipment to tap potentials. Improve the automation level, power generation capacity, and peak shaving capacity of old hydropower stations.

In the case of Japan, China's neighboring country, since the 1970s, Japan has redeveloped some rivers, scrapped existing small hydropower and rebuilt larger hydropower plants. For example, the new Sorghum River original small hydropower station 27,000 KW, converted into a large pumped storage power station, the installed capacity of 1.28 million KW, 47 times the original capacity.

Therefore, although the total amount of hydropower development resources in China is approaching the limit, with the improvement of development conditions, improvement of the development level, and improvement of sending conditions, there will be a small number of small and medium-sized newly-built power stations available for market investment.

Turbine generating units are still attractive investment opportunities After the 1990s, the economically exploitable hydropower resources of developed countries in Europe and North America have been basically completed, and new installed capacity is depleting and the scale has been drastically reduced. (PS: Developed countries have basically completed hydropower development, not forgive it for various reasons.) At the same time, hydropower development in Asia, Central and South America countries has entered an unprecedented period of great development, and overseas construction forces have gradually withdrawn due to the disadvantage of human cost. In China's domestic and surrounding markets, this has made hydro-generators the most important form of participation for overseas manufacturers. In this case, the Asian-African countries have become major customers in the world's hydroelectric generating set market. The annual orders for hydropower equipment accounted for more than 90% of the world's total, and China has thus become the central market for the world's hydroelectric generating units.

With the continuous expansion of the market weight of China's hydro-generator units in the global scope, as well as China's manufacturing cost advantage, international hydropower equipment manufacturers have flooded into China in recent years. At present, the major international turbine generator manufacturers such as Alstom, Voith-Siemenshydro, AndritzVATECHHydro, and Toshiba, which have been acquired by GE, are already in China. Establish a production base. With the introduction of self-research and innovation efforts, the domestic turbine manufacturing industry represented by Harbin Power Equipment Co., Ltd. and Dongfang Electric Co., Ltd. has also made considerable progress. China has become the world's water turbine generator set. Big country.

The major medium and large-sized turbine generator manufacturers in the domestic market include: Dongfang Electric, Harbin Electric, Tianjin Alstom, Voith Siemens, Zhefu Hydropower, Toshiba Hydropower, Andelich, Hangzhou Liyuan, and GE Asia Hydro. Among them, GE of the United States withdrew its hydropower business globally at the end of 2006. Its only large and medium-sized hydro-generating unit manufacturing plant in China (located in Hangzhou, including its own technology and Norwegian Kvaina company's technical system) has already converted , No longer engaged in the production of hydro-generator units. At present, the large and medium-sized hydro-generator units are basically supplied by market demand from several other manufacturers. The industrial concentration of the entire industry is high. In the tide of hydropower development from 2005 to 2010, the market was once monopolized.

When the story happened here, it should have come to an end, but new problems have emerged: that is, as the development of low-cost hydropower resources has been completed, the hydropower development market is shrinking. Although some degree of integration has been carried out, the number of existing companies is still too much. How to do?

Let us first look at the mechanical life of turbines:

In addition to a large number of auxiliary equipment, the most important hydraulic turbines, generators, boosting equipment, and opening and closing equipment account for the major investment shares in the investment in mechanical equipment for hydropower stations. Because the reference flow and the drop of each hydropower station are different, the units of each power station are different, and all of them are customized products and cannot be replaced. Therefore, the procurement costs are greatly increased. However, because of this, it puts high demands on its design reliability and maintenance reliability. The equipment is basically based on the scale of the power station and is designed for full life – that is, within the life cycle of the power station (50-100 years), and it will be replaced by normal maintenance. Even if it is replaced, it will usually take several decades if extreme wear cannot be repaired. In the face of a market with maintenance and maintenance that lasted for decades, it is obviously not necessary to have too many core companies – because there is simply not enough market space. In particular, when China’s domestic companies have entered the ranks of world advanced technologies in many fields, integration or withdrawal is inevitable.

As the United States GE exited the hydropower market in 2006, Mitsubishi and Hitachi, Japan, also integrated the assets of the hydropower system in 2010. Even in order to better cope with the challenges of the industry and the landscape industry, the two sides also integrated the assets of the thermal power and nuclear power sectors in 2012. We believe that as the competition in the low-end market intensifies and the high-end market further shrinks, the integration of the hydropower industry will not stop. Perhaps in a few years, China, Japan, the United States, Europe, and the four major systems will each retain only one core enterprise.

The things that are in the world will be divided for a long time, and they will be divided for a long time.

On the Father's Day in 2015, GE's WeChat issued a photo to commemorate Edison, the inventor of the electrical business. It seems very impressive. In September 2015, shocking news finally came out: The European Union approved GE's acquisition of the French company Alstom’s power and grid business. The Alstom hydro power capacity to be incorporated into GE accounted for more than 25% of the total installed capacity of hydropower in the world. As early as 1995, it began to focus on the deployment of China's hydropower business. It had won many bids for the domestic water conservancy projects such as the Three Gorges Project (22.7GW). In addition, the world's top five hydropower stations such as the Itaipu hydropower station in Brazil (14.8 GW) use hydropower technology from Alstom.

Although the hydropower business has a long history, GE has resolutely stripped its continuous loss of hydropower business in previous years, and has invested more resources in gas turbines and other business sectors with better returns. However, taking into account the massive turbine maintenance business in the Americas and other traditional customer regions, GE re-find its position in the industry under the grand strategy of GE returning to the manufacturing industry. Through this acquisition, Alstom re-entered the market. Hydropower business. Complementarity between the two businesses creates a new industry hegemony and further opens the chapter of the industry's continued integration.

Hydropower market prospects at home and abroad On the one hand, the current mainstream of the world hydropower equipment sales market has shifted from Europe, North America, Japan and other developed countries to Asia, Africa and Latin America. From the perspective of supply and demand in the international market in the future, although China’s hydropower resources have undergone explosive development in recent years, the remaining space is getting smaller and smaller, but the power of neighboring Asian countries has developed rapidly, and the surrounding Asian countries are rich in water resources. The growth in demand for hydropower development has become inevitable, and there may be an explosive growth of small and medium-sized units.

With the gradual maturity of domestically produced units, domestic hydropower equipment has entered the international market in large numbers in recent years, and has strong comprehensive competitiveness in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. There is room for better growth in the overseas hydropower equipment market.

With the comprehensive strength and background of GE and Alstom, with the advantage of regional services and financing facilities, there will still be some market space in the competition with domestic units, which will surely occupy a place. However, the entire process is driven by cost competition and needs to be more closely matched with the needs of buyers.

On the other hand, large and medium-sized hydro-generator units are capital-intensive and technology-intensive industries, with high barriers to entry. There are certain difficulties and risks from entering into a stable production capacity and obtaining good project records. This gives new manufacturing Businesses have entered the market with some resistance. In respect of high-head impact type units, super-capacity turbines, large-capacity pumped storage units, large-scale cross-flow units, and tidal units and other high-tech units, China's related manufacturing companies still have some room for technological improvement, but the disappearance of market space Compared with the scientific research process, so in some areas, latecomers may give up catching up.

With the gradual reduction of the economically exploitable market and the urgent demand for clean energy development, there will be a part of technologically exploitable resources that will enter the scope of commercial development. Judging from the overall situation of countries in the world, the new high threshold market is still sufficient to support the 5-10 years of benign development of core companies. The most important business among these is the Alstom advantage range.

In the trend of shifting the world's manufacturing industry to developing countries, China’s hydro-generator manufacturing industry has a series of advantages in accepting international industrial transfer: such as the world’s largest hydropower equipment market advantage, high-quality and low-cost human resources, Social and political stability, the advantages of rapid economic growth, and good infrastructure advantages, these advantages make China's water turbine generator manufacturing industry in a very favorable position to undertake international industrial transfer. GE's next step is to use Alstom's series of industrial bases in China, which will benefit from a win-win situation in which the industry develops and the cost is controllable, making related businesses the main highlights of mid-term operations.

Ten years later, with continuous efforts in technology and cost for a series of new energy sources such as wind power and photovoltaics, coupled with the depletion of hydropower technology exploitable resources, the hydro turbine manufacturing industry will gradually enter the maintenance-maintenance business segment. Firms with large customer reserves and good technology accumulation and service levels will become the main players in the market. At the same time, the author believes that there will be a new round of market consolidation, along with the impact of an integrated economy, as well as various integration measures such as international cooperation and cross-shareholding. After 30 years, the turbine manufacturing service industry (even thermal power and gas business together ) Maybe eventually form a two strong pattern.

As the follow-up maintenance service for turbines is best carried out by the original design manufacturer, in order to maximize cost savings and efficiency, it is therefore possible to have a sufficient sales market for units to become a prerequisite for the service market. Now, it is the last battle to seize the high ground of the future hydropower service market. Whether or not it can occupy more markets with reasonable costs, superior technologies and good services will become the cornerstone of the company's development in the coming decades.

The future of hydropower: potential risks and technological opportunities in the industry Hydroelectric power is an applied science.

The hydropower development experience in the past 100 years is enough to give us good investment confidence. Through scientific analysis, careful investment can generate cash flow. However, there are still certain uncertainties. For example, due to the high proportion of fixed assets, in the face of force majeure, there may be the possibility of losses; hydropower will face concentrating photovoltaic, wind and power integrated power stations, gas hydrates, nuclear fusion, ocean energy The impact of emerging technologies such as technology and solar thermal technology. In particular, the development of 3D printing technology will have a disruptive impact on the production and transportation of giant turbine units and hydropower equipment, and will also bring great convenience to subsequent maintenance and repair. This will be the reality that existing companies will have to face.

With GE's first-class 3D printing capabilities and previous Alstom-owned turbine design and manufacturing experience and a large customer base, what impact will their combination have on the energy industry? We expect the leading companies in the industry to make more contributions to the hydropower business.

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