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Energy Saving to Generate Billions: NDRC Official

China's long-term energy conservation and renewable energy development blueprint will generate an investment worth hundreds of billions of yuan within the following five years, senior analysts with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Friday told an energy forum hosted by China Daily.

China, the world's second-largest energy consumer after the United States, plans to reduce its energy costs per unit GDP growth by 2010 from the current level, aimed at an energy-saving and environmentally-friendly society, said the proposal of the 11th Five-Year Programme (2006-2010) detailed recently by the central government.

"To hit that target, a huge business potential will be open to investors, which translates up to hundreds of billions of yuan," Zhou Dadi, director-general of NDRC's energy research institute told a China Daily energy forum on Friday.

Zhou's institute has initiated a medium and long-term energy conservation plan for China, which includes ten key projects involving sectors such as electricity, steel, petroleum and coal.

These projects will require new technologies and the upgrading of existing facilities in various industries.

For example, the country is now promoting new technologies and materials in building construction, in an attempt to cut energy usage such as heating by 50 percent within the next five years.

A medium-sized company producing energy-saving electric bulbs in South China's Guangdong Province said they foresee tremendous business opportunities, since the government is pushing ahead with energy conservation projects.

To supplement China's macro energy conservation plan, the country also needs to adopt a raft of other measures including taxation and financial policies to encourage energy saving and prevent extravagance, added Zhou.

In exploring new energy options such as wind, solar and hydro resources, the business potential is enormous, said industry analysts who attended Friday's forum.

The country has attached great importance to diversifying energy resources to fuel the fast-growing economy.

It will put into effect its first renewable energy laws from the beginning of next year, to push the usage of wind, solar, hydro and biomass energy sources.

The country aims to increase the proportion of renewable energy among its energy mix to 12 percent from the current 7 percent within the next 15 years, said Liang Zhipeng, another senior analyst with NDRC's energy research body.

China currently has 43 wind farms across the country's northern and eastern areas, with a total generation capacity of 760,000 kilowatts, which is a small number compared with its total generation capacity of 440 gigawatts.

"The country is still lagging behind the rest of the world's advanced level manufacturing wind-power facilities," said Liang.

So the government's ambitious target will involve a huge budget for companies to introduce new technology and build new plants.

To cash in on the huge market potential, China's power majors including Datang, Huaneng and Huadian are all eyeing up wind farms.

China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp, a subsidiary of Huadian Group, has recently signed with Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to build a 40,000 kilowatt wind farm in that region.

(China Daily October 24, 2005)

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