Dependence on oil needs to be cut, says panel
By Xiao Fuyu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-13 05:20
The central government is working on a long-term plan to increase the use of
alternative fuels to reduce the dependence on oil.
Coal gas and renewable energy sources such as biomass and solar power are
expected to become "major alternatives," according to the National Development
and Reform Commission (NDRC).
drill for oil in Puyang, Central China's Henan Province in this photo
taken on January 31, 2006. [newsphoto]
Wu Yin, a senior energy official with NDRC, said at a weekend meeting that
the recommendations of a national leading group from several cabinet departments
are part of an "oil alternative strategy."
He said "the essence of the report" will be incorporated in China's 11th
Five-Year Plan (2006-10), which will be discussed at the annual session of the
National People's Congress the supreme legislature next month.
China aims to raise the ratio of renewable energy in total consumption to 13
per cent by 2020, up from the current 7 per cent.
Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the NDRC, said the key to achieve the goal is
to increase the use of nuclear, wind and solar energy so that dependence on coal
and oil could be cut.
The use of renewable energy has been growing at more than 25 per cent in
China the highest in the world and Zhang said solar power consumption in the
country accounted for 40 per cent of the global total at the end of 2004.
The government has decided to significantly raise the availability ethanol as
vehicle fuel, which is currently being used in five provinces. Corn, wheat,
potatoes and sugarcane are major raw materials for the alternative fuel.
Given the abundance of reserves in the country, coal liquefaction a clean and
relatively efficient way of producing synthetic products is also high on the
China Oil News reported last week that the government plans to spend US$15
billion to build plants that annually manufacture 16 million tons of oil
products from coal in the next five to 10 years.
The plants will be located in coal-rich Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces,
as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
According to earlier reports, Shenhua Group, the nation's largest coal
producer, is building a 24.5 billion yuan (US$2.96 billion) coal liquefaction
plant in Inner Mongolia, the first of its kind in the country.