China may spend $738b on clean energy projects

Updated: 2010-07-21 14:03
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China may spend about 5 trillion yuan ($738 billion) in the next decade developing cleaner sources of energy to reduce emissions from burning oil and coal, a government official said.

The government will submit plans to develop cleaner energy, including nuclear power and gas from unconventional sources, in 2011 to 2020 to the State Council, or Cabinet, for approval, Jiang Bing, head of the National Energy Administration's planning and development department, said in Beijing.

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China needs between 500 billion and 600 billion yuan annually to develop energy-conservation and low-carbon technologies, according to the government's 2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report published last year. The country attracted $11.5 billion of asset financing in clean-energy technology in the second quarter, more than Europe and the US combined, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said on July 13.

"The government is taking the issue of cleaner energy seriously for the reasons of climate change, energy security. It's already meeting some of its targets for sectors like wind power well ahead of schedule," said Barbara Hon, an analyst at China Everbright Securities in Hong Kong.

China erected more wind turbines in 2009 than any other country and may install a record 18 gigawatts of wind-power capacity in 2010, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates show.

Reducing coal's share

The world's fastest-growing major economy will get more than 11 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels by 2015, according to a statement released by the National Energy Administration yesterday. That compares with about 8 percent currently, Jiang said at a media briefing.

The government wants about 15 percent of its energy to come from non-fossil fuels by 2020. Coal-fired power plants accounted for about 75 percent of the nation's electricity generating capacity last year.

Coal will meet 63 percent of the nation's energy needs by 2015, down from 70 percent last year, as China increases investment in clean energy, according to the energy administration statement.

The country's nuclear power generating capacity may reach 39 gigawatts by then, while its hydropower capacity may rise to 250 gigawatts, the administration said.

The share of natural gas in China's energy supply may increase to more than 8 percent by 2015 from 3.9 percent currently, according to Jiang. Natural-gas consumption may reach 260 billion cubic meters by then, he said.