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Energy Listing to Encourage Sustainable Growth
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In a drive to promote sustainable growth China yesterday published a list of coal and electricity consumption for every province, autonomous region and municipality -- except Tibet -- on the mainland in an effort to promote sustainable growth.

The list, compiled by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Energy Leading Group Office measures how much energy was consumed per 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) of GDP in 2005. It also includes energy consumption figures for every 10,000 yuan of industrial added value.

Guangdong was the most economical province using 0.79 tons of standard coal last year for every 10,000 yuan of GDP. Beijing, with 0.8 tons of standard coal consumption, ranked second. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China was the most inefficient in energy use consuming of 4.14 tons of standard coal. The national average was 1.22 tons.

"The list will help provincial officials compare themselves with other regions and push them to improve efficiency," said Zhou Dadi, director general of the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC, the nation's top economic planning body.

"Officials will be assessed in terms of energy saved instead of just GDP growth rate which they were measured on in the past," said Zhou. "Energy efficiency will be a top priority in the promotion of officials."

As for Ningxia's poor performance in energy saving, Zhou explained that the region's economic growth was highly dependant on heavy industries such as metals production.

China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) calls for overall consumption of energy per unit of GDP to be cut by 20 percent in five years.

The current energy consumption per unit of GDP is about three times that of the United States and 10 times that of Japan, according to Zhang Jianyu, a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University. "It's good to require provinces and industries to take part in this energy-saving drive," he said. But he also warned against fraud in the reporting of energy consumption by some regions.

A recent report on world energy resources by BP, one of the world's largest energy groups, said that although China has maintained a rapid rate of growth its energy consumption growth rate had declined from 15.5 percent in 2004 to 9.5 percent in 2005.

To curb the growth of energy hungry industries the NDRC decided to increase the price of electricity by an average of 0.025 yuan (US$0.3 cent) per kilowatt-hour since last Friday. The price adjustment, according to the NDRC, wouldn't have a significant impact on household costs. .

"It will promote the development of renewable energy, fund more power grid projects and resolve the contradiction caused by rising coal prices," said a statement issued by the NDRC.

(China Daily July 4, 2006)

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