China to increase renewable energy

July 6, 2009 at 6:39 PM
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BEIJING, July 6 (UPI) -- China aims to generate at least 15 percent of its energy capacity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2020, the China Daily reported Monday.

China's renewable energy is expected to represent 10 percent of the country's energy resources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020, said Xie Zhenhua, vice minister for climate change policy for the National Development and Reform Commission.

Zhang Xiaoqiang, NDRC's vice minister for international cooperation, aims even higher, predicting China could reach a renewable energy target of at least 18 percent by 2020.

In addition, the coal-dependent country will soon announce a revised power supply capacity target for 2020, Sun Qin, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, told China Business Weekly, the China Daily reports. The revised goal, if approved by the government, represents nearly a 50 percent increase from its target set in 2007.

China's 2009 power capacity surpasses 900 gigawatts of energy. The 2020 target would increase the total range to 1,400 gigawatts or up to 1,500 gigawatts. To restructure its current electricity supply sources, China plans to increase investments in nuclear, solar, wind and biomass energy resources, NDRC's Xiaoqiang said.

Under the revised target for 2020, the ratio of nuclear power to the combined installed electricity capacity would increase to 5 percent from 2008's level of 2 percent.

Under the new projections, China's installed nuclear power capacity target would increase anywhere from 60 gigawatts to 76 gigawatts by 2020. That revises the previous target of 40 gigawatts, approved in 2007.

NDRC's Energy Research Institute projects solar power to increase ten-fold by 2020. This target expands the 1,800 megawatts of installed solar capacity set two years ago to 10,000 megawatts or more. Year-end solar capacity in 2008 was less than 100 megawatts, or 0.01 percent.

Statistics from the China Renewable Energy Society suggest more than two-thirds of China gets more than 2,200 hours of sunshine per year, making China's potential solar energy resources equivalent to 1.7 trillion tons of coal.

China is also looking to develop wind farms, each with the potential to generate more than 10 gigawatts. China's onshore wind power potential is estimated at 700 gigawatts to 1,200 gigawatts, with an offshore wind power capacity of 250 gigawatts, the National Climate Center reports, said the China Daily.

China boasts a number of regions viewed as rich in potential wind power capabilities. The Xinjiang Uygur region alone has an estimated wind power-generating potential of 100 gigawatts.

"We have great renewable resources to explore," said Xiao Ziniu, director of the National Climate Center.

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