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China to increase investments in alternative energy projects

Beijing, Oct 04, 2006 -- Asia Pulse Data Source

China will step up investments in projects involving development of bio-energy and other alternative energies between 2006 and 2010 to ensure energy security and maintain its high economic growth. By increasing investments, the government hopes to ensure China's energy security as the country fears that the soaring world oil prices would have a negative impact on its economic growth, officials with the Ministry of Finance said.

Data showed that China's dependence on foreign oil reached 43 per cent last year. Departments concerned forecast that China's oil consumption would hit 450 million tonnes in 2020, with 250 million tonnes to be imported from abroad.

The ministry, however, did not elaborate on the investment figures, saying only that it would earmark more funds for bio-energy, solar and wind energy projects, as well as for coal-to-liquid fuel projects over the next five years, Xinhua news agency reported. The ministry has listed the development of renewable energy a top priority in the coming five years. It would also encourage consumers to save energy and make efforts to build energy reserves.

China has set a target of raising the proportion of wind and solar power in its total energy supply to 10 per cent by 2010 and to about 16 per cent by 2020. To achieve the goal, China will need a total investment of 101.1 billion US dollars by 2020, offering vast business opportunities for foreign investors.

China, the world's second largest energy consumer after the United States, promulgated the Law on Renewable Energy early this year, and put forward in its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) the speedy development of renewable energy. Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region plans to build nine new wind power plants with an investment of 2.2 billion US dollars by 2020, the local government said.

The region is expected to become the country's biggest wind power generator in 2020, when it will have the installed capacity of 2,150 MW. The region's installed capacity of wind power stood at 112 MW in 2005, according to the China Electricity Council (CEC), an association of Chinese electricity plants.

By 2005, Ningxia ranked fourth in wind power capacity after Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions, and Liaoning Province, the council said.