The Chinese government has ordered six major power groups to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from their coal-fired power plants, a move to reduce pollutant discharges.
Six large power groups, including the Huaneng Enterprise Group, have signed commitments to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions to mark the start of construction of the first desulfurising project in a nationwide program to spread the technology among coal-fired power plants by 2010.
At the function held on Monday, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said coal-fired power plants were a major force in fulfiling the goal of reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 10 percent by 2010.
China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) for economic and social development has set environmental protection targets for the next five years, which include reducing discharges of major pollutants by 10 percent.
Zeng acknowledged that all new coal-fired units have to install desulfurising facilities and half the existing plants be renovated within five years. Plants that failed to meet the target would be closed.
He urged research institutes and businesses to improve research and development of desulfurising technologies and equipment production, while calling on environmental protection authorities to step up the monitoring of emissions by coal-fired power plants.
Environmental protection departments should increase charges on sulfur dioxide emissions, but refund them to businesses to invest in desulfurising projects.
A pricing policy favoring such plants would be established, he said.
As the world's biggest contributor to sulfur dioxide emissions, China has tried to reduce the discharges by renovating its thermal power plants.
By the end of 2005, the installed capacity of thermal power plants with desulfurising facilities reached 53 million kilowatts.