China is considering a major reform of its power generating system that will prioritize the operation of power plants based on their efficiency and environmental friendliness.
The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), the National Development and Reform Commission and several other authorities are currently conducting a feasibility study on the proposed reform.
Currently, all the power plants -- thermal, nuclear, hydropower and wind, run at the same capacity regulated only by demand.
Under the new system, they will be activated in a pre-arranged sequence. Hydropower plants, wind mills, rubbish-burning plants will first operate at their full capacity.
When power demand rises nuclear and natural gas power plants will be activated.
Coal and oil-burning plants, particularly smaller ones, will be the last to add to the grid.
"This is a major reform in the electricity supply system. It will revolutionize the old power management system," the China Business News quoted an official with the SERC as saying.
Preliminary finding show that if the reform works it could save100 million tons of coal from being burned.
The study indicates this reform alone would allow China to meet its goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent per unit gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010, an expert close to the study said.
The 20 percent drop in energy consumption per unit of GDP is a major goal in China's current five year plan as government seeks to reduce the country's increasing dependence on imported oil to fuel its dynamic economy.
To reach the goal the government had planned to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 4 percent in 2006.
Official statistics, however, indicate that the country's energy consumption in the first half of the year actually outpaced the growth of its economy.
(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2006)