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EU Confident About China's Renewable Energy Efforts
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The EU's environment chief yesterday expressed confidence that China's measures would effectively tackle Beijing's chronic air pollution in time for the 2008 Olympics.


"I'm sure the atmosphere will be cleaner and the environment will become better in Beijing and even the whole country as the Chinese government is working out measures to protect the environment, including developing renewable energy," said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas in Beijing.


Dimas was speaking at a news conference on Sunday, ahead of a two-day international renewable energy conference, due to open today, jointly organized by the Chinese government and the EU.


"The emerging economy wants to play a leading role in creating the conditions for renewables to thrive," Dimas said.


As a follow-up to the World Sustainable Development Summit in Johannesburg in 2002 and the International Conference on Renewable Energy in June last year, representatives from 80 countries and the EU, including ministers, are expected to attend this conference.


Participants will also discuss options for increasing renewables' share of the worldwide energy market.


"Developing renewable energy is of greater importance now given the doubling of crude oil prices," Dimas said.


The increased use of renewables helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, which impact the environment and economic development, he added, before emphasizing that energy efficiency was equally important.


"I would like to stress that the Chinese government is aware of the significance of climate change and has collaborated with the EU and others to solve the issue the globe is facing," Dimas said.


"China has been endeavoring to develop wind power generation," he said. "More and more other renewable energy will be used in the future."


In 2000, China implemented an "Ecological Home and Rich Farmer Program," which promotes efficient energy generation and use. It sets biogas, biomass and solar energy as priorities.


China, which gets 70 percent of its energy needs from coal, has set a target of generating 30 GWs (gigawatts) of electricity from wind sources by 2020, Wu Guihui, deputy director-general of National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) energy bureau, told a press conference hosted by Greenpeace yesterday.


By the end of last year, China had set up 43 wind farms nationwide with a total capacity of 764 MWs (megawatts), which is used on the national grid.


Wu said technology is still a problem. The government is encouraging foreign technology transfers by guaranteeing overseas firms' shares in the wind energy market.


The EU stands ready to contribute its know-how to developing innovative policies, instruments and public-private partnerships for accelerating renewable energy markets worldwide, he told reporters.


The EU and China have agreed to build a zero-emission power plant in China as a cooperative project to reduce the impact of power generation on the environment.


Dimas is expected to sign implementation agreements today for the EU-China Biodiversity Program, including a 30 million-euro (US$36 million) contribution from the European Commission,  with China's environmental protection minister, Xie Zhenhua.


(China Daily November 7, 2005)

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