Beijing plans to raise the generating capacity of nuclear, wind-, solar- and hydropower facilities by 16 per cent this year as part of a drive to cut energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Industry regulator the National Development and Reform Commission said in its report at yesterday's opening session of the National People's Congress that it aimed to increase output from the four sources by 52.24 gigawatts this year. Installed hydropower generating capacity will increase by 21 GW, nuclear power capacity by 3.24 GW, wind power capacity by 19 GW and solar power capacity by 10 GW.
According to the China Electricity Council, hydropower capacity stood at 248.9 GW at the end of last year, indicating an increase of 8.4 per cent under the commission's projections. Nuclear power capacity would grow by 25.8 per cent from 248.9 GW and wind power by 29.6 per cent from 60.83 GW. The biggest increase would be in solar power, which had a capacity of just 3.28 GW at the end of last year, indicating a 300 per cent increase.
The commission's plans far exceed the projections for overall growth in electricity generating capacity of the research unit at the State Grid Corporation of China, the larger of the nation's two power companies. It predicted a 6.5 per cent increase in electricity production this year.
About 79 per cent of the nation's power last year was generated from coal-fired plants. But coal burning has been cited as a key factor in the nation's pollution problems.
By raising power generation from clean energy sources and improving coal-fired plants by boosting combustion efficiency and installing emission control equipment, the commission aims to cut both energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of economic output by at least 3.7 per cent this year.
It also plans a pilot project on a market-based carbon-emission-rights trading scheme, and improved pricing mechanisms for motor fuel and natural gas.
The commission approved carbon-emission-trading pilots in seven large cities and provinces in 2011 and targeted a nationwide roll-out of the policy by the end of this year.