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Clean energy reduces pollution, resource consumption in China

(People's Daily Online)

15:25, January 17, 2013

Industrial pollution is a major cause of the recent dense fog engulfing China’s central and eastern regions. A report released by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) on Jan. 15 brought some hope for pollution control.

According to the report, China consumed nearly 1.1 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity generated by clean energy resources in 2012, up nearly 29 percent from the previous year. It accounted for over 21 percent of the country's total electricity output, an increase of 3.9 percentage points from a year earlier.

Clean energy installed capacity on steady rise

Few, or even zero, emissions are a distinctive feature of clean energy, compared with coal, oil, and other traditional energy sources.

According to the National Energy Administration, a coal-fired electricity generation unit with a capacity of 6,000 kilowatts or above consumes 326 grams of standard coal for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. It is thus estimated that China reduced standard coal consumption by about 350 million tons last year by using clean energy-generated electivity.

In fact, many domestic coal-fired electricity generation units have a capacity below 6,000 kilowatts and consume more coal per kilowatt-hour of electricity. Therefore, clean energy actually saved the country more than 350 million tons of standard coal last year.

China’s installed capacity of clean energy has been on a steady rise in recent years. Its total installed power generation capacity reached over 1.1 billion kilowatts as of the end of last December, of which, hydropower generation capacity increased nearly 7 percent year on year to 248.9 million kilowatts. Nuclear power, wind power, and solar power generation capacity rose 0 percent, nearly 32 percent, and nearly 48 percent to nearly 12.6 million kilowatts, over 60.8 million kilowatts, and nearly 3.3 million kilowatts respectively.

In just 10 years, China has doubled its hydropower installed capacity accumulated over the first 50 years since its founding. Its total hydropower installed capacity exceeded 100 million kilowatts in 2004, surpassing that of the United States as the world’s largest. The figure exceeded 200 million kilowatts in 2010.

It just took China five and a half years to increase its wind power installed capacity from 2 million kilowatts to 50 million kilowatts, while the same progress took the United States and Europe 15 years. China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest wind power generation country.

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