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Boom of New Power Plants a Concern

Power plants are going up across electricity-hungry China, but the government is worried about the worsening pollution and possible power surplus the rapid construction may lead to.


Power plants with a total generation capacity of 280 million kilowatts are under construction in China, according to the State Development and Reform Commission.


Some local governments and companies began building the new power plants without proper approval from the central government. The building frenzy was triggered by the shortage of 10 million to 13 million kilowatts of electricity in the fourth quarter of this year.


Half of the power plants, which will be put into operation in 2005 and 2006, are not approved, said a source with the State Power Grid.


The boom of power plants will increase pollution, worsen resource shortages and break the country's power supply plan, said Ma Kai, minister in charge of SDRC.


The State Environmental Protection Administration also said on Thursday that it has received environmental impact reports of 200 would-be power plants in the first 11 months of this year.


If all these power plants were put into use, they would consume 400 million tons of coal annually, producing 5 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 53.26 million tons of dust every year, said Pan Yue, SEPA deputy director.


The country needs more power plants to relieve power shortage but they must be built in a balanced and rational way, said Zhang Guobao, vice minister in charge of the SDRC.


(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2004)


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