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Plan to cut coal use hard to achieve: experts

By Liang Fei (Global Times)

08:09, January 25, 2013

The newly released 12th Five-Year Plan for the energy sector targets a reduction in coal consumption by 2015, but experts noted Thursday that this will be a challenge as China's coal consumption is still rising at present.

According to the plan, the proportion of coal use in China's total energy consumption will fall to around 65 percent by 2015, with non-fossil fuel energy consumption rising to 11.4 percent by 2015, up from 8.6 percent in 2010. The proportion of natural gas consumption will also rise to around 7.5 percent.

"The plan has set a very difficult target, as China's coal consumption is still rising," Han Xiaoping, chief information officer at energy portal, told the Global Times Thursday.

Coal consumption currently accounts for around 70 percent of China's total energy consumption, according to Han. In 2011, China used around 3.48 billion tons of coal, and the amount is expected to increase by around 300 million tons in 2012, he said.

The plan said that annual coal consumption will be capped at around 4 billion tons by 2015.

Meng Xian'gan, secretary-general of the China Renewable Energy Society, noted that China should boost renewable energy development to reform its energy structure.

Boosted by the five-year plan, shares in some solar power companies have risen. Shares in GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, a major solar power company listed in Hong Kong, rose by 4.05 percent Thursday, against a decline of 0.15 percent in the Hang Seng Index.

"The government has released a series of guidelines to help the new-energy sector, especially the solar power industry," said Meng, who also noted that the solar power industry is now recovering as the domestic market is being further developed.

Prices of raw materials and some products in the solar power sector have risen slightly over the past few weeks, according to a research note from Guosen Securities on Thursday.

Han from predicted that hydro and nuclear power will also see major development in the next few years.

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