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National center to back up hydropower development
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The National Research Center for Sustainable Hydropower Development was established on September 19 in Beijing at the China institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR).

The Center was launched with the permission of the National Energy Administration to back up China's research on theories, technologies, and management in the hydropower field.

The center will seek solutions to key issues and risks with the help of IWHR's expertise, and challenge the sector’s further development and their impact on society, the economy and ecosystems.

Chen Lei, minister of water resources, said at the center's inaugural ceremony he hopes the center can focus its research on the most controversial issues the sector has faced in environmental protection and provide the authorities with environmentally-friendly ways of promoting the sector’s further development in China.

As an important energy, hydropower accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s total power supply.

China's total exploitable hydropower potential is estimated to be 542 million kilowatts, ranking first in the world and next only to coal.

It is the largest renewable clean energy source available for large-scale development. However, only 31 percent of the country's total hydropower resources have been exploited, far less than in some developed countries and the world’s average level, according to Chen.

This shows that China has great potential to push forward hydropower supply in the years to come, Chen added.

By the end of 2008, the country had built 54,000 small hydropower plants with annual power generation accounting for one-third of the total hydropower. To date, more than 300 million rural residents in half of the country and one-third of its total counties have benefited from hydropower from such small stations.

(Chinadaily.com.cn September 22, 2009)


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