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Understanding institutional barriers for wind curtailment in China



The recent recurrence of wind curtailment in China underscores the rigidity and vulnerability of China's electricity regulatory regime. Using the theory of “fragmented authoritarianism”, this paper identifies key institutional barriers causing wind curtailment in China and develops a framework for analyzing China's electricity regulatory regime. Specifically, the fragmented institutional authorities and responsibilities lead to departmentalism and coordination problems, both vertically and horizontally. The resulting mismatches in the investment, generation, and distribution of the electric power sector reflect direct causes for China's wind curtailment. This paper recommends that an electric power system reform with established regional spot markets is needed to fix China's wind curtailment problem.