Mainland authorities are considering new legislation to address acute power shortages and rising concerns over energy security. Xu Dingming, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's energy bureau, told an energy forum in Beijing on Thursday that the legislative process for an energy law had started in March on the instructions of top leaders, state media reported. Mr Xu was quoted by the China Youth Daily yesterday as saying: 'State leaders have attached great importance to energy issues. They ... instructed us to put China's energy law into effect as soon as possible.' The National People's Congress, the State Council's legislative affairs office and Mr Xu's commission concluded their second meeting on the drafting of the legislation on Thursday, the report said. The NPC passed the mainland's first renewable energy law in March and established the energy affairs office under the State Council in May. Since last year, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have been calling for an energy-conserving and environment-friendly society, as well as for sustainable development. In its proposed economic and social blueprint for the next five years, China plans to produce each additional unit of output using 20 per cent less energy by 2010. Mr Wen described the goal as achievable, despite his acknowledgment that energy consumption had outpaced the rapid economic growth of the past few years, Xinhua said. 'But it is a very complicated process,' Mr Xu said, according to the Beijing Morning Post. 'We hope the energy law will be on the right track as soon as possible. Setting up a law usually takes one to two years, but we hope the energy law can be promulgated faster,' Mr Xu said.