China's power generating capacity rose by 20.3 percent year-on-year to reach 622 million kilowatts at the end of last year.
Of the total, the capacity of hydro-electric power plants was more than 128 million kilowatts, up 9.5 percent year-on-year, and the capacity of thermal power plants exceeded 484 million kilowatts, up 23.7 percent.
China has also made progress in developing new energies, such as nuclear, wind power, geothermal and biomass energies, excluding conventional resources such as coal, oil, natural gas and hydropower, according to the China Electricity Council (CEC), a consolidated organization for all China's power enterprises and institutions.
CEC figures show that China was operating nuclear power plants with a combined generating capacity of 6.85 million kilowatts and wind power plants with a combined capacity of 1.87 million kilowatts, up 76.7 percent year-on-year, at the end of last year.
Thirty-four straw-burning power plants were being built in rural areas at the end of 2006 with a total installed capacity of 1.2 million kw.
They include three plants with a combined capacity of 240,000 kilowatts have already begun operating in Shandong, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces, according to China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Experts said the government had been forced to develop new energy due to shortages of resources and environmental pressure.
China is rich in new energy and sustainable energy resources.
The country boasts a potential wind power capacity of 253 million kilowatts and a proved reserve of geothermal power totaling 3.16 billion tons of coal equivalent.
Under the government's development plan, by 2010, the overall generating capacity will reach 800 million kw, of which 35 percent would be "clean power" generated from hydropower, nuclear energy and other forms of new energy including straw-fueled electricity generation.
(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2007)