A contract was signed between China and the Netherlands in early January to promote the comprehensive development and utilization of renewable energy in western China's countryside. The project, sponsored by the China Association of Rural Energy Industry (CAREI), received investment of 5.3 million euros (US$5.57 million) from the Dutch government and 5.4 million Yuan (US$652,174) of subsidiary funds from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.
Dr. Philip de Heer, Netherlands Ambassador to China, and Deng Keyun, chairman of CAREI, took part in the signing.
China is the world's second biggest energy consumer. With energy consumption expanding dramatically, it is confronted with pressures both from economic development and environmental protection, especially in western China where ecological conditions are increasingly worsening. The Ministry of Agriculture and related departments have attached great importance to the development and utilization of renewable energy for ecological improvement, pollution control and to enable rural people to escape from poverty.
Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and Ministry of Agriculture, CAREI asked the Dutch government to give free technical assistance to the project.
This is planned to start with technical introduction and personnel training. Twelve counties in Gansu, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan provinces have been chosen as trial bases where the project spreading mechanism, standard quality systems, and a monitoring network will be established in the next four years.
The project is to comprehensively develop and utilize the area's renewable energy sources, including solar energy, wind power, hydroelectricity and terrestrial heat; expand the utilization scale; raise management standards; improve consumer energy structures; establish a sustainable development and utilization system of consumer energy suitable for rural people living in different areas; and promote the realization of the goals of the western region development strategy.
(china.org.cn translated by Zhang Tingting, January 17, 2003)