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Proposal Would Boost Renewable Energy Use

Under the background of international crude oil price instability and limits on usage of electric power domestically, Chinese energy experts agreed that China has great potential to develop renewable energy.

According to the plan by 2015, China will annually develop new and renewable energy resources amounting to 43 million tons of coal equivalent (TCE), or 2 percent of the country's total energy consumption.

The Chinese government has supported the development and utilization of renewable energies, such as wind power, solar energy, hydropower, said Zhou Fengqi, director in charge of the renewable energy development under the State Development and Reform Commission.

"The law is expected to be brought to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for discussion by the end of this year," acknowledged Zhou, "We hope it could pass in next year."

China has abundant renewable energy resources. Statistics shows that two thirds of China's land receives 2,200 hours of sunlight per year. The wind power resources which could be utilized stands at 253 million kilowatts. China has great reserves of terrestrial heat.

The China Energy Research Association noted that the development of renewable energy could improve the energy structure in the country and help solve the pollution problems caused by the use of common energies.

According to calculation, by 2015, with the new and renewable energy sources, the country's coal consumption will be cut by 60 million tons annually. This will amount to a reduction of pollutants including 30 million tons of carbon dioxide and 2 million tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot.

The development of renewable energy will provides nearly 500,000 job opportunities and help solve power problem for 5 million residents in remote areas, according to the China Energy Research Association.

Many investors have laid their sights on the sector, encouraged by its rosy prospect.

In north China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, which boasts rich wind power resources, the largest wind power generation station in Asia will be built before 2008.The project, with generating capacity of 1 million kilowatts of electricity annually, was backed by 1.2 billion US dollars of investment, according to the agreement signed recently between Erenhot City of the autonomous region and the Avalon Power Corporation of Canada.

Sources with the local development and reform commission said that by the end of 2005, the generating capacity of wind power stations in the autonomous region will increase to around 600,000 kilowatts, from 100,000 kilowatt at present.

But experts also acknowledged that the overall development of renewable energy in China is still at a low level. The country should encourage the technological upgrading and mechanism improvement to help promote the rapid development of the sector, noted the China Energy Research Association.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2004)

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