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Power source diversification proposed
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-19 06:04

China is determined to restructure its energy mix, aiming to raise the ratio of renewable energy usage in the country's total consumption from the current 7 per cent to 13 per cent by 2020.

Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China regards the exploration and utilization of renewable energy as a top priority in its overall strategy and will adopt preferential policies to speed the sector's development.

The key, he said, is to develop sources that are continually replaced such as nuclear, wind and solar so that China can reduce reliance on coal and oil. Most renewable forms of energy also are non-polluting.

"By 2020, we expect the utilization of renewable energy to be equivalent to 400 million tons of standard coal, which amounts to 13 per cent of the country's total energy consumption at that time," Zhang said in a statement.

"We've achieved a lot in the regard," he added, noting that the growth rate of China's renewable energy is more than 25 per cent, the highest in the world.

He said solar power consumption by China represented 40 per cent of the world's total at the end of 2004. Also, about 11 million marsh gas pools have been built in rural areas across the country.

According to Zhang, China is focusing on the development of water, nuclear, wind and biological power, ensuring that the environment is less adversely affected by this type of exploitation.

Overseas environmental watchdogs have also praised China's leadership in the use of "green" energy as alternatives to fossil fuels.

"China is already big in renewables. In five years' time we see them as a world leader in this department," Christopher Flavin, president of the US-based Worldwatch Institute, said on the sidelines of a recent energy conference in Johannesburg.

"There are prospects for real takeoffs in solar and wind power in China, and not just hot water for homes but in industry."

Flavin said rapid growth in oil imports and related costs motivated China to look for alternatives.

However, industry experts are warning policy-makers to be prudent in balancing the interests of different groups within the economy.

The National People's Congress passed the country's first renewable energy law, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1.

And related government bodies including the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Administration of Taxation and the State Environmental Protection Administration are working together on the details of the law.

The pricing of electricity sold to the country's power grids has been a core issue in the law.

A proposed regulation of on-grid prices of electricity generated from renewable courses will be submitted to the central government for approval by the end of next month, according to earlier reports.

(China Daily 10/19/2005 page2)

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