China will invest 1.5 trillion yuan (US$187.5 billion) to increase the ratio of renewable energy consumption, said Wu Guihui, vice-director-general of the Bureau of Energy under the National Development and Reform Commission.
Currently, 7.5 percent of China's energy comes from renewable sources. The country's goal is to make it 10 percent by 2010 and 16 percent by 2020, revised from its initial goal of 20 percent.
"Within 10 years, we will see a population of 30 million, in all the remote rural areas, have access to electricity, mainly from renewable energy-powered projects," Wu told the Great Wall World Renewable Energy Forum & Exhibition on Tuesday in Beijing.
"The shortage of fuel for daily consumption in rural areas will also be solved by that time."
Furthermore, the country will push the development of the renewable energy industry, introducing advanced foreign technology and further developing technology with proprietary intellectual property rights.
Hydro-powered electricity capacity will rise from the current 117 million kilowatts to 190 million kilowatts in 2010 and 300 million kilowatts in 2020, when, Wu said, 70 percent of the nation's potential hydroelectric energy will be exploited.
From 2002 to 2004, China poured 4.7 billion yuan (US$587.5 million) into small-scale hydropower systems intended for rural areas, which today serve more than 5 million people in 12 provinces and regions.
Meanwhile, the capacity of biomass power will reach 5.5 million kilowatts in 2010 and 30 million kilowatts in 2020. For wind power, it will be 5 million kilowatts in 2010 and 30 million kilowatts in 2020.
"A group of major hydro-power bases will be established along major rivers," Wu said. "Scores of wind power plants, each with a production capacity of 1 million kilowatts annually, will be set up along the eastern coastal areas and northwestern and northern China."
Solar energy will be extensively used in remote rural areas, including for water heaters and cooking facilities.
As the world's leader in the use of solar cells, China intends to increase the total area of cells in use to 300 million square meters by 2020.
"China has made some progress in the renewable energy sector but is still in the initial stages," Wu said.
Hydropower produced 400 billion kilowatt-hours last year, 16 percent of China's total consumption, with the Three Gorges project generating 48.6 billion kilowatt-hours. It is expected to generate 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours annually when it is completed in 2009.
Even so, Wu said: "Two-thirds of water resources remain unexploited.
"In the hydro-power sector, we are facing challenges including environmental protection and the relocation of residents.
"China lags far behind Europe and the United States in developing wind power, though it is a wind-rich country."
(China Daily October 26, 2006)