China to achieve energy efficiency goal on schedule

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China is expected to achieve its target of a 20-percent cut in energy use per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) in the five years to 2010 as planned, Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, said Friday.

With efforts in the fourth quarter, the energy efficiency goal for the 11th Five-Year (2006-2010) period would be met, Li told Xinhua.

Li also forecast energy consumption per unit of industrial value-added output would decline 6 percent this year from a year ago.

The year-on-year reductions for the previous four years were 1.98 percent in 2006, 5.46 percent in 2007, 8.43 percent in 2008 and 6.62 percent last year, he said.

China would make the industrial sector a key area for pushing through energy efficiency measures and emission cuts, Li said.

In 2009, the industrial sector consumed 71.3 percent of China's total energy, and was responsible for 84.3 percent of the country' s sulfur dioxide emissions and 34.4 percent of chemical oxygen emissions, he said.

Currently, China was facing a tough challenge in restructuring its industrial sector as it struggled to be rid of production overcapacity and highly energy-intensive businesses, said Li.

Apart from the iron and steel and concrete manufacturing, other industries suffering from overcapacity included the sectors of wind-powered electricity generation and the solar photovoltaic industry, Li told Xinhua.

The extremely high proportion of energy-intensive businesses in the industrial sector also gave rise to heavy energy and environmental pressures, Li said.

"Although half of China's backward production capacity will be eliminated during the five years from 2006 to 2010, there is still a long way to go before our conventional industries can be upgraded," he said.

The authorities would continue to raise energy efficiency by promoting indigenous innovations, improving the structure of investments and by enforcing strict market access rules to curb high energy-guzzling businesses, Li said.

Official statistics showed China's consumption of energy relative to economic output has fallen by 15.6 percent from 2005 to 2009.

However, energy use per unit of GDP rose 3.2 percent year on year during the first quarter this year. Energy consumption per unit of industrial value-added output was up 0.38 percent from one year ago during the first three months.

The first half of this year saw a 0.09-percent increase year on year in energy use per unit of GDP.

The government has introduced a series of measures to ensure the target on energy efficiency is met, including eliminating out-dated industrial capacity and restricting new projects for capacity expansion in energy intensive and polluting industries.

During the four years 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 of capacity were eliminated.

Authorities also phased out inefficient production capacity of 87.12 million tonnes of steel, 60.38 million tonnes of iron and 214 million tonnes of cement in the past four years.

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 eliminating inefficient production capacity of 25 million tonnes of steel, 6 million tonnes of iron and 50 million tonnes of cement.

China would exhaust all effective means possible to meet the target of improving energy efficiency, Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the Summer Davos in September.

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