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WB to lend US$441 mln  for energy efficiency in China
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The World Bank (WB) has approved loans of 441 million U.S. dollars to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from power plants in China, the China office of the WB said on Wednesday.

The loans, which account for almost one third of planned loans for China in fiscal 2008, would go to three projects, according to the lender.

The energy efficiency project, co-financed by the WB and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), would get a loan of 200 million U.S. dollars.

The project, which would also receive a grant of 13.5 million U.S. dollars from the GEF, aims to boost large-scale loans for energy efficiency programs in China.

It would enable China's commercial banks participating in the project, such as the Export-Import Bank of China and Huaxia Bank, to offer loans ranging from 5 million to 10 million U. S. dollars for energy conservation projects, especially in heavy industries, the bank said.

A fuel gas desulfurization project in Shandong Province would be supported by a 50-million-U.S.-dollar loan, it said.

The desulfurization project would see the installation of gas desulfurization and sulphur dioxide control facilities in four coal-fired power plants in Shandong, one of China's top provincial coal consumers.

The project would also help local regulatory authorities to monitor and enforce their sulphur dioxide emission control targets.

The remaining 191-million-U.S.-dollar loan would be made to finance an infrastructure project in northeastern China's Liaoning Province to build more efficient central heating systems and reclaim waste heat from power generation and steel production.

"Improving energy efficiency is a priority area for the WB's work in China," said David Dollar, the country director for China.

The bank would focus on energy efficiency, renewable and clean energy, urban heating and power supply efficiency to help China better meet its energy needs and reduce greenhouse emissions for more sustainable growth, he added.

The WB has helped finance seven projects in the areas of clean energy and energy efficiency in China since 1998, covering small-scale hydropower, wind power, biomass and energy efficiency in the manufacturing and building sectors.

As the world's second-largest energy user, China has set a target of a 20-percent reduction in energy intensity from 2006 to 2010 to improve its energy efficiency. But its energy intensity fell just 1.23 percent in 2006 and 3.27 percent last year, well below the annualized target.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2008)

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