Welcome to Azure International

Azure International is a leading investment and advisory company focused on China's cleantech energy sector. Founded in 2003, we have a team of 20+ local and international professionals based in China with backgrounds in engineering, marketing, manufacturing, consulting, policy, government relations and finance. In addition to deep advisory capabilities in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, and energy finance, we have proven capability to invest in and accelerate the development of clean energy companies.  Our portfolio and partner companies have achieved both significant commercial success and returns to investors. Azure provides the necessary expertise and execution capabilities in China to lead relationship development with government and strategic partners, project execution, sourcing, sales and technology development – all with deep understanding of Chinese and international requirements.

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Wind – NEA releases 2015 wind grid integration notice: The National Energy Administration’s latest wind policy release notes that while curtailment lessened in 2014, significant risks remain in 2015 and more work needs to be done. In particular, the document cites the need to improve generation scheduling (giving priority access to wind farms) and better coordinate wind power balancing across larger dispatch regions.  With regard to China’s major wind power bases, which are expected to be connected to distant load centers via UHV lines this year, the NEA calls for better coordination between local wind and thermal plants to ensure that more wind can utilize this export capacity.  It also calls for more projects in Northern China to use wind power for heating. Finally, it calls for developers to diversify into China’s Eastern and Southern low wind speed regions. This policy contains a number of specific suggestions for lowering wind curtailment.While improving wind dispatch is perhaps the most economica way to do sol, it is also the most difficult to achieve given conflicting imperatives for grid operators to both prioritize wind while honoring minimum generation quotas for thermal plants in the region. Conversely, the technical feasibility of using wind for public heating has been demonstrated yet suffers from low efficiencies and poor economics. (NEA CN)

Wind - Inner Mongolia releases first RE quotas and strict guidelines for wind integration: In late March, Inner Mongolia became the first province to establish long term renewable energy quotas calling for renewable energy to account for

15% of electricity consumption by 2015 and 20% by 2020. Inner Mongolia leads the nation in wind installations, with 20.7 GW  of grid-connected capacity. The policy also calls for greater priority of renewable energy during generation scheduling and dispatch. Specifically, it calls for the dispatch authority (IMAR Power Group in the West and State Grid in the East) to issue public and transparent monthly dispatch planning reports. It calls for average wind utilization hours in W IMAR to be greater than or equal to 2000 hours (compare to 2089 hours in 2014) and average wind utilization hours in E IMAR to be greater than or equal to 1800 hours (compare to 1785 hours in 2014). It also establishes quarterly reviews that can result in fines for non-compliance. This policy has teeth. It will likely force grid dispatchers and thermal generation operators to push their coal-fired power plants to operate closer to their minimum limits to provide more room for wind integration. (IMARGov CN)

Wind – Vestas announces 50 MW order for wind farm in Hebei: On March 30, Vestas announced a 50 MW order from Hebei Fengning Construction Investment New Energy, marking its fourth order in China this year. Vestas will supply 25 V90-2.0MW turbines for the Senjitu Wind Farm Phase II project. The contract also includes VestasOnline Business SCADA solution and a two year service agreement. Similar toVestas’ other customers in China, Hebei Fengning Construction Investment New Energy is a repeat customer with current Vestas orders amounting to 320 MW. This fourth order brings Vestas’s 2015 total to 218 MW. According to CWEA stats, Vestas supplied 262 MW in 2014; 2015 is looking to be a growth year for the Danish wind turbine supplier in China and another positive signal for foreign wind turbine manufacturers active in the country. (Vestas EN)

Renewable Energy – China State Grid releases White Paper on renewable energy integration: On April 2, China State Grid released a new white paper introducing ways in which the grid operator is working to better integrate wind and solar resources. According to State Grid’s press release, it expects to install 27 GW of renewable energy per year, connecting 100 GW of solar and 170 GW of wind to China’s grid by 2020. State Grid claims to have built the world’s largest and most comprehensive wind power forecasting network covering 972 wind farms with of a precision greater than 85%. To further support RE integration, State Grid calls for more flexible generation (PHS and natural gas fired generation) and greater adoption of demand side management measures. Correspondingly, the world’s largest grid operator also calls for the government to provide stronger pricing support for load following generation and demand side management.  Because pricing for both wholesale and retail electricity is determined by national and local development and reform commissions, State Grid does not have the ability to directly address its renewable integration challenges through market forces. It appears to be using this paper to push some of the responsibility for integrating renewable onto the government, which makes sense given the success of market oriented measures in addressing curtailment internationally.(ChinaStateGrid CN)

Solar – Shandong provincial government releases 2015 solar development plan:Following the national solar development plan released last month, the Shandong government has divided its PV installation quota across its respective cities and counties. This places pressure on local governments to achieve 2015 installation targets and also seeks to more equitably distribute subsidies across all regions. However, this approach may also increase the cost of developing projects as solar developers are not able to focus their efforts on one city or county. (RED CN)

Solar – MIIT releases official technology standards for China’s PV manufacturers: After soliciting industry feedback through its January suggested policy release, the MIIT officially released standards covering production scale and product quality requirements. Compared to the earlier releases, this official set of standards contains stricter requirements for polysilicon purity and conversion efficiency. (MIIT CN)

Energy Storage – BYD plans to double energy storage system sales in 2015:According to company statements sent to Bloomberg, BYD plans to double its energy storage shipments in 2015, up from 57 MWh in 2014. In 2014, BYD sold systems into a variety of countries and market segments. In the U.S., BYD installed two 4MW/2MWh systems and signed an agreement to provide an additional two 19.8 MW/7.8MWh systems for frequency regulation service in the PJM market. In the Chinese market, BYD installed a 20MW/40MWh system near its headquarters in the Pingshan Industrial Park in Shenzhen for end user energy management. BYD is planning similar projects near its factories in Xian, Baolong and Changsha. BYD is also producing small-scale distributed systems for the European, Japanese and Australian markets. Azure International maintains a comprehensive global energy storage database and views BYD’s 2015 sales target as very achievable given current order backlog. (Bloomberg EN)

Electric Vehicle – Over 80% of battery manufacturers not in compliance with MIIT standards: After establishing standards related to production scale for electric vehicle battery manufacturers, industry experts told Economic Observer Online reporters that the MIIT may have grossly underestimated the number of Chinese battery manufacturers (177 versus 600). Moreover, experts estimate that around 5-10% of manufacturers meet the MIIT’s production scale criteria. Driven by these guidelines and massive overcapacity for mid-tier to low-tier suppliers, some experts are predicting that most small manufacturers will be squeezed out of the market in 2015. (BJX CN)

Energy Efficiency – PRC State Council releases suggestions for the standardization of the energy efficiency industry: On April 4, the PRC State Council released an important document outlining its goals for the implementation to lower energy consumption through progressively stricter standards. By 2020, China should development a complete set of standards covering energy intensive industries with more than 80% of the energy efficiency requirements in line with international averages. (PRC State Council)

Coal – NEA statistics show that 401 mines closed in 2014: On March 31, the NEA released an update on existing coal mines and production capacities as part of a continuing effort to register and publicly announced coal mines. According to its latest release, 401 mines closed in 2014 due to technical and other reasons. (NEA CN)

Policy – NDRC releases new safety measures for power production: On April 2, the NDRC published new safety measures for electricity generators in China. The policy aims to reduce the accidents through more clearly defining responsible parties and associated fines. (NDRC CN)


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