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Renewable Energy Sector Gets a Big Push

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China will construct two hydropower stations and two wind farms with a total capacity of 2,001 megawatts in a bid to increase the share of renewable energy in the national energy matrix.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website yesterday that it has approved for construction the Luding Hydropower Station (four units of 230 megawatt each) in Sichuan Province and the Dongjing Hydropower plant in Guizhou Province, consisting of four units each with 220 megawatt capacity.

The two wind farms, the Rudong wind farm in Jiangsu Province and Guyuan wind power station in Hebei province, are of the same capacity, at 100.5 megawatts.

Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that it was "time to restructure the nation's energy mix" by exploring renewable energy alternatives and boosting clean energy consumption.

China should increase investment in the renewable energy sector, even though the current financial crisis has temporarily cushioned the conflict between energy supply and demand, he said.

If the country did not give due importance to the development of new energy, "we will find ourselves lagging behind the world within a decade," Zhang warned. Premier Wen Jiabao had last week said China would persist with energy conservation efforts, reduction in emission and environmental protection even as it tries to limit the economic slowdown.

The country would accelerate the development of clean energy, the Premier had said.

Developing new sources of energy is important to restructure the energy mix and expand domestic demand, said Ren Dongming, vice-director of the Renewable Energy Development Center, Energy Research Institute, NDRC.

The 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package includes a 210-billion- yuan investment in energy conservation and ecological engineering, the NDRC said.

"Part of the 210-billion-yuan spending that was distributed between November 2008 and March 2009 went to local wind turbine manufacturing and household biogas in rural areas," said Ren.

(China Daily March 13, 2009)