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10b Yuan Shot-in-the-arm for Renewable Energy
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The China New Energy Chamber of Commerce (CNECC) has vowed to establish a renewable energy industry fund worth 10 billion yuan (about US$1.283 billion).

"Although it is at a fledgling stage, the chamber has the resolve and competence to fulfill this ambitious target," said Li Hejun, chairman of the chamber and president of China's leading private power enterprise, the Farsighted Group.

Created a year ago with 100 members, the chamber will ramp up its efforts to raise funds and inject them into small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) related to China's booming renewable energy industry.

"The fund will focus not just on the chamber's large members the industry's market leaders," said Li, adding that the fund will be a medium- to long-term investment to finance SME public listings in particular.

Li said the fund-raising plan included several phases, and the CNECC planned to raise a total of 1.2 billion yuan in the initial one to two years.

The chamber said it would boost the fund's capital management and supervision given the China Business Chamber for the Petroleum Industry's recent capital management scandal.

Some experts doubted whether the massive industry fund could be set up under such constrained time delays.

But Zhang Xi, vice-chairman of the CNECC, said the fund was of "great necessity" and came at "the right time".

The nation's start-up investment enterprise management measures enacted last year as well as the revised partnership enterprise law to be enacted this July will create an ideal policy climate for the industry fund, Zhang said.

Private enterprises currently play an important role in the renewable energy sector in China. Some have become internationally competitive forces, including the Wuxi Suntech Power Holding Co and Himing Solar Energy Group.

Rapid development has created growing demand for funds in the renewable energy industry.

According to Li Junfeng, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Energy Research Institute, by the end of October 2006, the total installed capacity of wind and solar power in China was 2.3 million kilowatts and 300 megawatts respectively, a surge of 85 and 100 percent over 2005.

Total investment in the thriving wind power industry from 2007 to 2010 will be 45.6 billion yuan, he said. Reversely though, fund shortages have hindered technological innovation in China's bio-fuel sector, with a power generation growth of only 10 percent in 2006.

To tackles these issues, the chamber also plans to set up a renewable energy industry base and a product exchange market.

(China Daily January 16, 2007)

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