Alternative power sources will help cut emissions

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-05 06:58

By harnessing the energy unleashed by hydro-, nuclear, thermal, wind and biomass power as well as a structural adjustment of the coal industry, the country expects to significantly reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) responsible for climate change, a plan released yesterday by the National Development and Reform Commission, said.

China's National Climate Change Program calls for efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main culprit in climate change, by 720 metric tons by 2010. It also expects to trim emissions of other gasses by the equivalent of 230 metric tons of carbon dioxide during the period.

The plan predicts that the exploitation of hydropower will reduce CO2 emissions by 500 metric tons during the period. However, it also calls for due attention to be paid to protecting the environment surrounding hydropower projects and efforts to relocate affected local populations.

This portion of the plan emphasizes hydropower resources in western China and the development of other small-scale resources in other parts of the country.

The plan projects reductions of a further 50 metric tons of CO2 by relying more on nuclear power, which it descries as an "important component of national energy strategy".

The country is to gradually increase nuclear power's share of the national primary energy supply and build more nuclear power stations in costal regions. The plan emphasizes the "independent and domestic construction of large-scale nuclear power stations".

The development of thermal power is to help the country cut a further 110 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Obsolete thermal power sources are to be phased out, while small-scale natural gas or coal bed methane electric power plants, large combined-cycle units and other efficient and clean power-generation technologies will be developed.

The plan also calls for further efforts to develop power cogeneration, the process by which the energy lost during power generation is converted to heat and cool. In addition, more efforts will be made to strengthen power grid construction.

The country expects to reduce emissions of other GHGs by the equivalent of 200 metric tons of CO2 by upgrading the coal-bed methane (CBM) and coal-mine methane (CMM) industry. CBM and CMM are sources of natural gas.

China's efforts to expand CBM exploration, development and utilization are expected to yield the additional benefit of reducing mining accidents and pollution.

Preferential policies will include the total or partial exemption of utilization fees for surface extraction and projects involving prospecting and mining rights.

The country expects to reduce emissions of other GHGs by the equivalent of 30 metric tons of CO2 by developing bio-energy sources like marsh gas, biomass briquette and biomass liquid fuel. And wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy will help the country shed an additional 60 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

(China Daily 06/05/2007 page4)

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