China likely to reach energy efficiency goal

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A senior official of China's top economic planner Wednesday said China will likely reach its goal of improving energy efficiency by 20 percent from 2006 to 2010.

"Due to the unremitting efforts of central and local governments, the target of a 20-percent reduction in energy consumption relative to economic output is within reach," said Xie Zhenhua, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference.

In the four years from 2006 to 2009, small thermal power plants with a total capacity of 60 million kilowatts were shut down. For the first seven months this year, small thermal plants with another 10 million kW were eliminated.

"The high energy-intensive power generation capacity eliminated during the four years and seven months in China is more than the total installed power generation capacity of the whole United Kingdom, which stands at 60 million kW," said Xie.

During the four years, the authorities phased out inefficient production capacity of 87.12 million tonnes of steel, 60.38 million tonnes of iron and 214 million tonnes of cement, said Xie.

The total eliminated outdated production capacity from 2006 to 2009 was equivalent to 110 million tonnes of standard coal saved, he said.

This year, the government was aiming to save energy of another 16 million tonnes of standard coal by shutting down small thermal power plants with a total capacity of 10 million kW and phasing out inefficient production capacity of 25 million tonnes of steel, 6 million tonnes of iron and 50 million tonnes of cement, said Xie.

The government had also allocated 128.5 billion yuan (19.22 billion U.S. dollars) from its central budget to energy-efficiency and environmental protection projects during the four years, and the fund for this year would reach 83.3 billion yuan, he said.

The 128.5 billion yuan plus 83.3 billion yuan from the central budget represented only 10 to 15 percent of China's total investment in energy saving and emissions cutting in the five years, Xie said.

China's efforts to save energy and cut emissions also included other favorable policies in pricing and taxation, said Xie.

Official statistics show China's consumption of energy relative to economic output rose in the first half by 0.09 percent from the same period last year after the government announced it had fallen by 15.6 percent from 2005 to 2009.

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