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UPDATED: June 9, 2009 Web Exclusive
A Boost for Renewable Energy
China upgrades the alternative energy industry to a strategic level

China should accelerate development of the alternative energy industry as "a strategic industry," so as to nurture a new economic growth sector, Vice Premier Li Keqiang says. He made the remarks at a working conference aimed at providing financial support for the development of newly booming industries, including the alternative energy industry.

Experts noted that upgrading the renewable energy industry to a strategic level shows the Chinese Government's determination to develop the industry and strengthen its position in the world market in this sector.

At the conference, held in Beijing on May 21, the Ministry of Finance presented 10 key tasks to support the alternative energy industry and to help industries reduce pollution and conserve energy.

The government will construct a large wind-power base, offer subsidies to encourage people to use alternative-energy automobiles, and promote the establishment of a photovoltaic panels market.

Vice Minister of Finance Zhang Shaochun said at the conference that renewable energy, energy conservation and environmental protection are promising industries that will increase China's competitiveness in the international market. The new industries are expected to help the country expand domestic demand and keep exports stable. They may also help in the transformation of the economic development mode and promote sustainable development.

The elevation of the new energy industry indicates that the current economic development mode is difficult to sustain and ill-equipped to handle the pressures of international competition.

Li noted that since the second half of last year, China has released a set of stimulus packages to expand domestic demand and spur economic growth, given the severe economic downturn worldwide.

Although China's economy is showing signs of recovery, the world economic crisis is far from over, Li said. Therefore, China needs to develop emerging industries that are expected to have a potential market, provide a great number of jobs, and display a strong economic performance, he said. The renewable energy industry is a key sector for China to promote consumption, increase investment and keep exports stable. It also acts as a starting point to readjust industrial structure and sharpen international competitive edge, he added.

The China National Energy Administration (NEA) on June 1 said that China is developing a renewable energy development plan.

The plan, which began drafting on April 2 this year, has taken initial shape over the last two months following wide-ranging discussions with experts from central and local governments and enterprises, said Liu Qi, deputy head of NEA.

"The launch of the plan is designed to, first of all, cope with the current severe international financial crisis, expand domestic demand, and drive an increase in investment and jobs," Liu said. "The plan also aims to deal with climate change, readjust energy structure, and promote sustainable development of the energy industry."

There are two kinds of alternative energy. One encompasses wind power, solar energy and biomass energy, and the other is new energy made from traditional energy following technical renovation, such as the use of clean coal and new kinds of fuel for vehicles.

Experts expect the Chinese Government to increase its investment in the sector as part of the renewable energy development plan, because the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package does not include investment in new energy.

(Source: China Business News)


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