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US$180b to be spent on renewable energy use
Updated: 2005-11-08 08:16

Over the next 15 years China is set to spend about 180 billion dollars to increase its use of renewable energy to 15 percent of the total generated, from the current seven percent.

Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, revealed the plan at an international conference on renewable energy in Beijing, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

"Renewable energy, including solar, wind power and hydropower, will contribute to better energy security in China," said Zhang.

"It also delivers substantial economic and environmental results, alleviating poverty."

In the coming 15 years China will actively develop biomass energy and hopes to replace ten million tons of petroleum with renewable energy annually, Zhang said.

China also plans to expand the heat collection area of solar heaters to 300 million cubic meters (390 million cubic yards) by 2020, replacing the use of about 40 million tons of standard coal each year.

The European Union's Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, who is also attending the conference, on Sunday highlighted the importance for China of developing renewable energy to become less dependent on traditional fuel and to better cope with energy shortages.

"The development of renewable energy is very important to resolving Chinese cities' energy problem," Dimas said.

He emphasized solar energy and biomass energy should be explored along with wind energy.

China is expected to surpass the United States in greenhouse gas emissions in a few years.

"I'm absolutely sure the situation is not hopeless because the Chinese government is determined to take the right measures to improve the situation and they have already taken some measures that have helped improve the situation," Dimas said Sunday.

He said China has ordered some factories to cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 46 percent. He also said China was paying great attention to wind energy and has set up both offshore and inland windmills.

By 2008 when Beijing will host the Olympic Games, the air quality in Beijing will be much better, as good as it was during the Athens Olympics, said Dimas.

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