City plugs into green energy

By Li Wenfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-30 09:24
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GUANGZHOU - In an effort to build a low-carbon economy, the city government of Guangzhou on Wednesday unveiled 34 energy efficient projects, amounting to a total planned investment of 250 billion yuan ($37.37 billion).

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The projects include public transport systems, light-emitting diode (LED) products and projects in the new energy sector, Chen Haotian, deputy director of Guangzhou's development and reform commission, told a press conference.

The list of low-carbon projects will be extended in the future, he said.

The city authorities recently issued a guideline for speeding up the development of a low-carbon economy between 2011 and 2015, aiming to reduce energy intensity from the equivalence of 0.65 tons of coal per 10,000 yuan of GDP to 0.54-0.56 tons in 2015

According to the guideline, the city plans to initiate widespread low-carbon economic activities next year in the hope of achieving low-carbon production and consumption in 2013.

"Many domestic cities have devised strategies for becoming low carbon. Those that get a head start will be in an advantageous position in the competition," Chen said.

The key tasks set out in the guideline include establishing a low-carbon means of economic production and consumption, using energy optimally, researching and applying related technologies, designing green architecture, low-carbon industrial parks and a carbon trading market.

For example, the first phase of the 200-million-yuan cooling system in Guangzhou's central business district is designed to annually reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 18,538 tons and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 49 tons, according to the Guangzhou Pearl River New Town Energy Co.

Progress has been made in Guangzhou with the development of patented technologies for harnessing solar power, conserving energy in buildings, the development of biomass energy, smart transport and the distribution of energy.

In upgrading its economic structure, last year Guangzhou generated more than 60 percent of its GDP from the service industry and 33 percent of its industrial output from high-tech products, according to figures from the city government.

New energy and environmental industries contributed to 2 percent of the industrial output of the city in 2008, while clean energy systems accounted for more than 20 percent of the city's energy consumption.

However, there are still hurdles to be jumped before Guangzhou is able to achieve its low-carbon ambitions.

It will be challenging for the city to move away from being a high-energy consumer and producer of emissions, especially when there was an 8 percent annual increase in the consumption of energy from 2006 to 2010.

Coal still accounts for 46 percent of the city's energy use, Chen said.

It will also be difficult to persuade enterprises and individuals to upgrade their current equipment so that it is environmentally friendly, he added.