The Law on Renewable Energy, which was approved by the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee in February and will go into effect on January 1, 2006, is crucial to China's energy and environment, said Gu Xiulian, vice chairperson of the NPC Standing Committee, on Tuesday at a workshop on the implementation of the law.
The workshop was sponsored by the NPC's Law Committee, Environment and Resources Protection Committee, the Legal Department of the NPC Standing Committee and the National Development and Reform Commission.
Gu called the law an important step in the resolution of the country's energy and environmental problems and its sustainable development.
Since China embarked on its economic reform more than 20 years ago, its GDP has quadrupled while energy consumption has only doubled. This indicates that China has made remarkable progress in improving energy efficiency, Gu said.
However, China followed the traditional development model of "massive production, massive consumption and massive discharge," she noted. The country still faces shortages of energy resources, an unreasonable energy production structure, low energy efficiency and serious environmental pollution.
According to official estimates, by 2020 China's energy consumption is expected to top the equivalent of 3 billion tons of standard coal. The country will face even greater energy supply challenges as its dependence on imported oil is expected to grow.
Gu called for greater progress in energy conservation, optimization of the energy structure and development of renewable energy. She pointed out that China is rich in such resources as wind, solar energy and biological energy.
In 2003, China's renewable energy-based power generation was the equivalent of just 52 million tons of standard coal, about 3 percent of the country's total power generation. By 2020, it is expected to increase to 10 percent.
Gu urged the government to support the development of renewable energy with preferential policies to help ease the bottlenecked energy supply and make renewable energy a major substitute for coal, oil and natural gas.
According to government figures, in 2004 China produced 2 billion tons of coal, consumed 290 million tons of oil and imported over 120 million tons of oil.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2005)