The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China endorsed on Feb 28 the Renewable Energy Law, four months earlier than expected. To have a better understanding of significance of the law and the way to boost development of the renewable energy in China, the PD journalist interviewed Feng Zhijun, vice director of the Environment and Resources Commission of the National People's Congress of China.
Huge potentials for development of renewable energy in China
According to Feng, renewable energy refers to non-mineral fuels that can be maintained in a constant supply over time from the nature, including wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy and marine energy etc. This type of energy does not cause pollution and discharge no green house gases basically.
Within the future 20 to 30 years, the renewable energy that can be exploited and applied equasl to 800 mln tons of standard coal annually in China. In 2003 the installed capacity of wind power generator had reached 570, 000 kilowatt in China. China's production and application of solar energy heaters is leading the world. A total of 52 mln square meters have been applied in 2003, representing 40 percent of the total amount of the world. The annual production has amounted to 12 mln square meters. The installed capacity of biomasses energy generator has reached 2 mln kilowatts. Researches and experiments to extract solid and fluid fuel from biomass are underway. To sum up, China has already attained preliminary technology and laid foundation for application of renewable energy and has created conditions for large-scale commercialization of renewable energy.
There is still difference compared with foreign countries
Despite the progress made in this regard, China still falls behind of most developed countries in terms of growth rate and quality. It is even behind of developing countries like India and Brazil. In the past China lacked laws and regulations that support development of renewable energy. The economic policies were not constant and stable in supporting the renewable energy. Part of key equipments was dependent on import.
The Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd is just one instance. The company is established as a model program for the solar energy industry by the State Commission of Planning. In 2004 its production capacity expanded to 70 mln watts by applying foreign investment of 400 mln yuan, hence ranked No. 3 in the world. But more than 90 percent of its products are exported to Europe and America. This doesn't suggest China is not in need of solar energy, but showing laws and favorable policies for renewable energy have boosted demands for renewable energy in foreign countries.
Judging from the development trends in all localities and China's objectives, the consumption of renewable energy will probably increase to 10 percent of the country's gross energy consumption by 2020. The renewable energy will hopefully undergo great development and become one of important substitute energies following coal, natural gas and petroleum should the government backs it with policies. It will play an important role in securing China's energy safety, supporting sustainable development of economy and society of China, said Feng.
At present production and consumption of petroleum energy produce about 90 percent of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and 70 percent of dust in China. Enormous environmental benefits will be attained if China achieves the goal it set in renewable energy by 2020.
The Renewable Energy Law stipulates responsibilities of the government and society in developing and applying renewable energy; establishes a series of policies and measures, including objective for long and mid-term quantity and development plan, encourage development of renewable energy industry and technical research, put up special fund for the renewable energy. The law will guide and motivate economic bodies home and abroad to participate in development of renewable energy; boost long-term development of the renewable energy, making it important in the energy structure. It will effectively eliminate environmental problems caused by burning of mineral fuel and promote sustainable development.
By People's Daily Online