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Alternative Energy Supplies Explored

China is seeking alternate energy supplies in regions where sources such as solar or wind power are practical, according to Zheng Xinli. Zheng, deputy director of the Policy Research Office of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, a major think tank, said, "China has rich renewable energy resources, and must optimize its energy structure to shake off its energy shortage."

The use of solar and wind energy is fairly well advanced, but the effective use of terrestrial heat and tidal energy remain primitive. Zheng stated that an energy development strategy that depends on local energy resources has now been developed.

In northern China, wind power development is now a growth industry. According to Zhou Fengqi, a senior official for a state wind power program, China has 3.2 billion kilowatts of wind power capacity, with 253 million kilowatts useable. That puts it in first place internationally.

In the west, where the average daily sunlight surpasses 3,000 kilowatts, solar power is commonly used. In Qinghai Province, there are presently 39 solar power stations to cope with power shortages in remote areas.

The country is also beginning to develop its terrestrial heat resources in southwestern China and tidal energy along the coast.

Development of alternative energy resources frequently runs into technological and funding problems, as development costs run high and utilization rates low.

However, the Chinese government is drafting a bill to promote the use of renewable energy. It is scheduled to be submitted to the National People's Congress for passage at the end of the year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 31, 2004)

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